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The Complete Set De Jode's Three Maps of Asia

Asia. JODE, G. DE/ GASTALDI, G. [Antwerp, 1578 & 1593]
Primae Partis Asiae . 11 ¼ x 19 ¾ inches.
Set of three with: Secundae Partis Asiae Typus. . . 12 ¾ x 20 inches.
and with: Tertiae Partis Asiae. . .13 x 19 ¾ inches.
All three maps with fine hand color & in fine condition.


The full set of De Jode's edition of Gastaldi's extremely rare and important maps of the continent of Asia. The first two maps are rare first editions of 1578 and the third is from the second edition of 1593. There were only two editions of the De Jode atlas, as opposed to roughly 40 of his rival Ortelius, accounting for the rarity of these maps. As Skelton pointed out, De Jode "deserves credit for reproducing and bringing into circulation, in the Speculum [De Jode's atlas], a number of important maps, often of large format, printed outside the Netherlands…" These three maps, first published by Gastaldi in 1559 (part 1) and 1561 (parts 2 and 3) are certainly among the most important in this group. In De Jode's edition they were among the earliest, large-scale maps of Asia published in the Netherlands. It must be remembered that these maps pre-date the rise of the Netherlands as an international commercial power, thus forcing Dutch map publishers to look abroad especially for maps of distant areas like Asia.
Gastaldi was, as Burden pointed out, "Cosmographer to the Venetian Republic, then a powerhouse of commerce and trade. He sought the most up to date geographical information available, and became one of the greatest cartographers of the sixteenth century." Suarez added that "Gastaldi dominates the cartography of Southeast Asia on printed maps throughout the middle decades of the sixteenth century." Dutch map publishers like De Jode and Ortelius held Gastaldi in the highest esteem and used his maps as sources for many of the maps in their atlases. All three sheets of the present set of maps prominently note their reliance on Gastaldi.
The chief sources for the map were the travels of Marco Polo, the voyages of Magellan, and various other Spanish and Portuguese expeditions. Arabia and India are both shown in particularly good detail for the period with the mapping of the former emphasizing the riches of its commerce. The maps extend from the eastern Mediterranean to China and cover south to the equator.
While Gerard De Jode (1509-1591) was a very successful and prolific engraver, printer, publisher and cartographer who produced a wide variety of maps, prints and coins, his foray into the atlas market did not meet with similar success, this despite the fact that his atlas was commended in its day and subsequently. The relative commercial failure of the Speculum and hence the scarcity of the De Jode's maps today, has been attributed to his rival Ortelius' superior political and business connections. Ortelius was able to enjoy a license and monopoly for his atlas, whereas De Jode’s efforts to secure a license were fruitless for many years. There are indications that Ortelius actively maneuvered to have De Jode’s application for ecclesiastical and royal imprimatur delayed until his own expired. At any rate, the first copies of the Speculum were not sold until 1579, nine years after Ortelius’ work was first published, and also some years after the Speculum's plates were completed. De Jode's son, Cornelis, published an updated and final edition of the atlas in 1593.

Skelton, R. A. De Jode Facsimile Atlas, p. viii; Karrow, R. Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century, 30/85.1, 30/91.2, 30/92.2; Nordinskold,

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