L'Asie suivant les dern.res observ.ons des Moscovites
Very decorative and detailed map of Asia by Le Rouge.
The map is presented in projection and extends from the coast of West Africa to Japan. The map is based on the latest astronomical observations of the Moscow Academy. It shows rivers, mountains, lakes, countries and cities with great accuracy. On the left, a panel shows the divisions of Asia, both political and religious. The beautiful title cartouche includes a richly charged camel.
The map states that "the Land of Yesso is here detached from our continent." The Land of Yesso is the result of Maerten Gerritsz Vries' confusion while sailing in the waters north of Japan. It was in fact the island of Hokkaido. Its representation varies from a small island to an entire container. The myths surrounding this island can be linked to Father Francis Xavier (1506-1552), one of the first Jesuit missionaries to Japan and China. He told of huge silver mines on a remote Japanese island; these stories were repeated in Spanish reports. The rumors became so persistent that Abraham Ortelius included a silver island north of Japan on his 1589 map of the Pacific.
As is often the case, Yesso Land is associated here with "Company Land", which in reality is two of the Kuril Islands sighted by Vries during his 1643 voyage.