Asiae Nova Descriptio

Asiae Nova Descriptio

[Christophe Plantin]
1570 [but 1587]
Size : 54 x 44,5 cm
Color : Coloris original
Condition : Bon
Technique : Copper engraving
Reference : 513-2

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Striking map of Asia by Abraham Ortelius in a beautiful period color.

The map is decorated with an elegant cartouche and extends from West Africa to Japan and New Guinea. It represents the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, China, India, Russia and Southeast Asia.

The map appears in the 1587 edition of Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum, of which only 250 copies were printed. Some restorations.


Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) was one of the great founders of cartography, in which he became interested at an early age. He began his career as a map illuminator, buying and collecting maps before selling them after they were colored, "his scientific and collecting interests developing in harmony with those of a merchant" (van der Krogt). His numerous travels led him to make important "scientific" and "cartographic" meetings (Goltzius, Gerard Mercator, Franz Hogenberg...) which led to the elaboration of the first true atlas ("the first true atlas", van der Broecke): taking advantage of the acquired experiences, Ortelius gathers under a handy format, maps, with title and text, presented under the same unit of projection (same style and size). He added a Catalogus auctorum tabularum geographicarum, a list of map authors, geographers and cartographers mentioned in his atlas, keeping it up to date with the editions (87 names in the 1570 edition, 183 names in the 1603 edition).

First published in 1570, Ortelius' Theatrum orbis Terrarum was a huge success. More than thirty editions, regularly expanded (53 maps in 1570, 167 in 1612), were published over 42 years (24 during Ortelius' lifetime, the last in 1595).