Indiae Orientalis Nova Descriptio


A map of the Spice Islands from when the Dutch ruled the trade.

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This beautifully colored copperplate engraved map reflects the latest Dutch explorations in Southeast Asia and Australia at a time when the Spice Trade propelled the small nation into one of the wealthiest on the planet. Specially built cargo ships would make transoceanic voyages that would last for months in order to return to Europe with holds filled to the brim with aromatic cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Factories, or trading posts, were operated by the Dutch East India Company, who had been given a monopoly by the Dutch government.

The company’s headquarters were located at Batavia, on the island of Java in the lower left. Numerous other factories in operation by competing English and Portuguese merchants are also shown. Incomplete coastlines reflect the ongoing nature of exploration in the region, while pictorial topography is indicative of the mountainous terrain in which the spice plants thrived.

Decorative elements are also present in the form of two compass roses, sailing ships, and three cartouches. The lower right contains two distance scales, while the upper right includes two native figures in indigenous costume.

The map was first published in 1630 by Jan Jansson in Amsterdam. This particular example was issued in 1638.

References: Koeman/van der Krogt 8500: 1B.1.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1638

Author: Jan Jansson

Sheet Width (in): 22.75

Sheet Height (in): 

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Some discoloration along the vertical centerfold and light soiling in the margins. A few spots within the image (left of Sumatra, left of the title cartouche) and the text shows though faintly in one or two areas. Remains in very good condition, with gorgeous hand color.


1 in stock