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Sale 2512 Lot 179
PLANCIUS, PETRUS. Delineatio Orarum Manicongi, Angolae, Monomotapae, Terrae Natalis, Zofalae, Mozambicae, Abyssinorum &c. Una Cum Vadis, et Sirtibus Adjacentibus. Item Insulae Magna Vulgo S. Laurentii Aliâs Madagascar Dictae, Inter Maximas Totius Orientis Habitae. Engraved decorative map of Southern Africa. 15 1/4x21 1/2 inches sheet size, narrow margins to platemark, minor closures at right edge; fine original hand-color. [Amsterdam: Cornelis Claesz, 1592-1594]
Estimate $3,000 - 5,000
an important early dutch imprint. This map of the lower portion of the African continent belongs to a rare series of separately published charts describing the coastlines of the world beyond Europe by Cornelis Claesz. "These maps…form the basis of knowledge that was applied in Dutch navigation outside of European waters. Even so, that knowledge was soon improved and expanded making use of Dutch seafarers' own experiences and mapmaking efforts. Despite the fact that none of these maps published in the period 1592-94 bore the name of Plancius, they can still be ascribed to him with a fairly high degree of certainty. Suffice it to say that they were all engraved by the family of engravers Van Doetecum and published by Cornelis Claesz…These maps are the oldest printed Dutch charts of coasts outside of Europe that were available to Dutch seafarers at that time" (Schilder).
The title at lower left offers a description of the area of focus, roughly translated: "Depiction of the coastal strips of Manicongo, Angola, Monomotapa, Natal, Zofala, Mozambique, the Abyssinians etc., together with the shallows and sandbanks along them. And also of the big island that is usually called Saint Laurentius or Madagascar that is counted among the very largest islands of the entire Orient".
Apart from the geography, the decoration of the map is stunning: exotic and fanciful beasts in the landmass, five compass roses, fantastic sea monsters and sailing ships with the left-most vessel bearing the flag of Amsterdam. Impossible to ignore is the scene at lower right picturing shipwrecked men being devoured by gigantic lobsters. The scene is based on the story of the wreck of a Dutch ship named St. Jacobus which ran aground on the rocks of Baixos de Iudia between Mozambique and Madagascar returning from the Indies in 1586. Lore has it the crew was eaten by wild animals (though likely not enormous crustaceans). The vignette was reproduced in Barent Langenes' Caert-Thresoor in 1598.
Very scarce, with Schilder recording 5 known copies (one of which was destroyed in World War II). Schilder, Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica, vol. VII, 5.2.3.