1638 Map Of The World By Matthaeus Merian

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Published by Matthaeus Merian (1621-1687) in 1638 within “Neuwe Archontologia Cosmica”.

Beautifully engraved, this world map is presented on Mercator's projection with cartography closely copied from Willem Blaeu's world map of 1606. 

The map gives the viewer a fascinating insight into human knowledge of the world, in the first half of the seventieth century.

In Europe, the prospect of an open Northeast Passage to the Pacific is still prominently shown, with the coastlines of Nova Zembla, etc., still only partially charted.

In Asia, Korea is shown as an island, with Japan shown in an early primitive outline and the impression of the Philippines dramatically oversized.

The depiction of North America is of particular interest. A notation concerning the discovery of the Americas in 1492 is engraved within the map area and occupies the unknown interior of the continent. 

No Great Lakes are shown and the north-western coastline culminates in a narrow strait (Anian) between Asia and America. 

California is shown as a peninsula, predating later theories of an island, and open ended waterways on the eastern coast hint at a Northwest Passage. 

To the south a large speculative southern continent named Magellanica or Terra Australis Incognito is connected to New Guinea.

Australia is not yet present as a separate landmass and remains attached to Magallanica.

The naming of Beach the northern tip of Magallanica, can be traced back to Fine's 1532 world map, which was based on information of Marco Polo's incorrectly scribed accounts. 

Merian’s map also pre-dates the Abel Tasmen’s 1642 discovery of New Zealand.    

Two polar projections in lower corners partially obscure the great southern landmass. 

The map is finely decorated with sea monsters, galleons and compass roses. 

Recognised as the first state with Merian's signature bottom right.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or queries regarding this exquisite and beautifully detailed map.

Map Details

Extremely clear impression. 

Blank on reverse side. Centre fold as issued. Uncoloured as issued. Narrow margins. Slight rubbing to left hand insert.

Printed on appropriately aged toned, watermarked hand laid paper. 

General surface dirt. Minor staining mostly to margins. 

Reinforced on verso long centre fold. 

The impression measures 35 x 27cm. 

Considered to be in a very good condition.