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An Early Cartographic Glimpse of Japan
MERCATOR, G./ HONDIUS, J [Amsterdam, 1606/1613]
13 ½ x 17 ½ inches.
Fine original color; marginal mends well outside image, else excellent condition
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).