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One of the First European Printed Maps
To Focus on India and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia/ India.
FRIES, L./ WALDSEEMULLER, M. [Vienne, 1522/ 1541]
Tabula Nova Utriusque Indiae.
. 11 ½ x 17 ¼ inches
A stain in the title, else excellent condition
One of the earliest acquirable maps of India and East Asia. It is based largely on the reports of Marco Polo, as is the copious Latin text, as transmitted through the 1507 Ruysch world map and Waldseemuller's 1513 of the same area as here. The map was, however, intended to present the then current state of knowledge of this remote part of the world. To its credit, India is shown in quite recognizable form and as a single peninsula, unlike its Ptolemaic configuration. However, the Malay Peninsula and Indochina appear as a long, tapering peninsula, which is identified on the map as being part of India. An oversized Sri Lanka (‘Taprobana’) appears off the southwest coast of this peninsula rather than along the southeast coast of India as it should. Perhaps early geographers confused Sri Lanka and Sumatra, which is of the approximate, proportionate size of the ‘Taprobana’ on this map.
Although Laurent Fries’ edition of the Ptolemy atlas was largely a re-cut version of Martin Waldseemuller’s of 1513, Fries added several notations and vignettes, two of which are of kings. Other vignettes suggest the lure of these areas for Europeans--involving gold and precious minerals--as well as its terrors, particularly the praying virginal figure being set afire by a satanic figure.