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PORTOLAN CHART. Portion of an untitled manuscript chart of New Guinea, probably drawn between c.1570-c.1606.

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PORTOLAN CHART. Portion of an untitled manuscript chart of New Guinea, probably drawn between c.1570-c.1606. A remarkable fragment from a larger chart of the East Indies, depicting the north-western part of the island of New Guinea; perhaps a forerunner of the famous engraved Plancius ‘ Spice Map. ’ In 1526, the Portuguese Jorge de Menezes was the first European to make landfall on the island, and recorded that the residents called it Papua. In 1545, the Spaniard Iñigo Ortiz de Retes landed on the northern coast, and claimed it for Spain, calling it ‘Neuva Guinea’ after likening the inhabitants to those of the Guinea coast in Africa. This nomenclature was not adopted by mapmakers for some time, but Abraham Ortelius’ world map Typus Orbis Terrarum , first published in 1570, gives ‘Nova Guinea’ as an island and labels the islets ‘y de Crespos’ off the northern coast, which also appear on the present fragment. However, it most closely resembles the depiction of New Guinea in the famous ‘Spice Map’ by Petrus Planicus, Insulae Moluccae celeberrimae , of 1594. Published by Cornelis Claesz under the direction of Plancius, and beautifully engraved by Johannes van Doetecum, this defining map was very occasionally inserted into copies of Linschoten’s Itinerario of 1596. The present manuscript has 6 mainland toponyms ‘C. de buen Deseo,’ ‘Del Aguada,’ ‘Buen Porte,’ ‘De las Virgines,’ ‘y S. Paulo,’ and ‘R. de S. Petro’, and 3 named islets ‘Dos Martiles,’ ‘I. de Crespos,’ and (slightly further north) ‘I. de Aves’ in common with the printed map. The coastline and depiction of islands is strikingly similar between both maps, and since the printed map has more toponyms, perhaps this manuscript portolan predates the printed map. The engraved chart uses toponyms in a traditional portolan way, running at right-angles to the coastline, and leaving the inland areas blank except for a descriptive text. Plancius’ map shows a rectangular island ‘Ceiram’ just to the east of Gilolo. In another map of south-east Asia, Exacta & Accurata Delineatio cum Orarum Maritimarum tum etjam locorum terrestrium quae in Regionibus China, Cauchinchina, Camboja sive Champa, Syao, Malacca, Arracan & Pegu , dated 1595, and always found in Linschoten’s Itinerario , this rectangular island is labelled ‘Os Papuas’ while ‘Nova Guinea’ is pushed to the extreme western edge. Although the two are separated by a group of three small unnamed islands, this is the first indication that perhaps ‘Ceiram’ and ‘Nova Guinea’ might be one and the same. By 1606, Hondius’ map Insulae Indiae Orientalis Praecipuae, in quibus Moluccae celeberrimae sunt shows an enlarged ‘Ceiram’ only separated from ‘Nova Guinea’ by a large island that almost fills the entire strait. This is labelled ‘I. de Don de Meneses’ referring to the Portuguese explorer of 80 years previous. Although Hondius uses a traditional shape for New Guinea, the coastline has changed from the Plancius map, and new toponyms are used. This suggests a terminus ante quem for the present lot. Most maps of south-east Asia after this date start to use a continuous northern coastline for New Guinea that joins the former ‘Ceiram’ and ‘Nova Guinea’, running in a WNW-ESE direction. A classic example is Blaeu’s 1635 India quae Orientalis dicitur et Insulae Adiacentes which labels the now enlarged island ‘Terra d’os Papous a Iacobo le Maire dicta Nova Guinea.’ This is a reference to the Dutch circumnavigator, Jacob Le Maire who coasted New Guinea during July-August 1616. Blaeu now names the island directly south of Gilolo as ‘Ceram.’ See Thomas Suarez. Early Mapping of Southeast Asia , pp.174-178. Pen and ink on vellum, coastline in green, islands and rhumblines in red or green, vertical graticule in blue and red bisecting the word ‘Nova’ in the middle of the island, place names written in brown or red ink, 176 x 97mm at greatest extent, sometime trimmed and reused as a wallet-style wrapper, with closure tab irregularly cut out at foot an

Informationen zur Auktion
Auktionshaus: Christie's
Titel: Important Books, Atlases, Globes & Scientific Instruments from the Collection of Nico and Nanni Israel
Auktionsdatum: 11.12.2019
Adresse: Christie's
London