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An Early Cartographic Glimpse of Japan

Japan/ Korea.. MERCATOR, G./ HONDIUS, J [Amsterdam, 1606/1613]
Iaponia. 13 ½ x 17 ½ inches.
Fine original color; marginal mends well outside image, else excellent condition

   $2,500


One of the earliest Western maps of Japan. The map is beautifully engraved, with Hondius’s fine calligraphic work prominently displayed. The East China Sea is prowled by a sea monster. The seas are sailed by both a Dutch sailing ship and a Japanese craft. Based on the Ortelius-Texeira map, Hondius’s engraving shows the Japanese main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku, oriented along a strict east-west axis. Korea is prominently displayed as an island. Hondius expresses uncertainty regarding Korea’s insularity in a text block, wherein he also describes the Koreans’ ferocity in war.

Walter 22; Cortazzi, Isles of Gold, p. 25, pl. 26 (p. 93).

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