Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Monday, March 24, 2014

1606 Map Of Japan

Above is a map of Japan drawn by Dutch cartographer Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612), that was created in 1606.

The Dutch, though you might not realize it nowadays, were one of the great explorers and capitalists on the planet at one time, and were dealing with Japan in the 1600s… hence the need for a map.

Know as Japonica to the Dutch, Japan was just about to enter that phase where it would shut itself off from the world for 250 years… so this map is an excellent opportunity to get an idea of what the country looked like before the Shogun began its military rule over the land.

Now... the map above is one I found on-line... the one that is actually up for auction by Christie's? well, it looks a bit different. ...
1606 map of Japan up for sale at Christie's.
The engraved hand-colored map of Japan contains an image 344 x 447 mm upon a 460 x 557 mm sheet.

Upon it, you can see three well-marked images of a sea monster, a Japanese junk ship and a Dutch galleon. It also has Dutch text all over it denoting towns and/or castles.

This map was first published in 1606 as one of the 37 new maps engraved for Hondius' enlarged Dutch edition of Mercator's Atlas, based on Teixeira's map of 1595. You can probably tell that the words in the sentence previous were not actually my own, but were drawn from the description dispatched by Christie's auction house. I could be that wordy if I had the time and the particular knowledge - but I'm more of a Jack of all trades... master of some.

Anyhow, because I had no idea who Teixeira was, I have learned that it is actually Luís Teixeira, a16th-century Portuguese Jesuit, cartographer, and mathematician. As well... this map was the first separate map of Japan, and until Martino Martin created a new one in 1655, this map was the gold standard map of Japan used by Europeans.

The map is currently up for auction at Christie's… so you know its the real deal. Click on 'Christie's' and you can see a larger, clearer image of the map.

The estimated value is in the US$1,000 - $1,500 range… which I feel is undervalued.

Go on… you know you want to own it. Twenty years ago, I would have bought it myself.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Should've bought it! But then the road to Hell is paved with "should've's"

    1. Pity I never saw it then... I have spent more than that on paintings... now I'm poor with great taste... LOL!!!