[Untitled] China and Japan – (title at verso: verso Ta. Superioris Indiae et Tartariae Maioris)

by Lorenz Fries (after Martin Waldseemüller)

The first modern map of China printed in Europe


Date of first edition: 1522

Date of this edition: 1535

Dimensions (not including margins): 28,5 x 45 cm

Condition: excellent. Sharp wood engraving printed on strong paper. Centre fold slightly age-toned. Two professionally executed small reinforcements at back, not affecting map. Wide margins.

Condition rating: A+

Verso: text in Latin

Map reference: Walter, Japan, A Cartographic Vision, p. 185, No.3.

From: Geographia of Claudius Ptolemy, first published in Strasbourg by Johann(es) Grüninger in 1522. This publication also in Strasbourg.

Item number:
Japan & Korea
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Price (without VAT): 4 200,00 (FYI +/- $4 956,00 / £3 738,00)
We charge the following expedition costs in euro: 
– Benelux: 20 euro
– Rest of Europe: 30 euro
– Rest of the World: 50 euro

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Lorenz Fries’ China and Japan: back in time and space …

A very important map of China, the first ‘modern’ printed map of the area, covering China, Tibet, Tartary and Japan, Fries published a slightly smaller format edition of Ptolemy’s ‘Geographia’ (by Martin Waldseemüller). Unlike most of the maps in this work it was not a reduction of a map from the larger Waldseemüller editions of 1513-1520, but a completely new map. It had been prepared for a new ‘Chronica mundi’ being written by Waldseemüller which was abandoned after his death. Waldseemüller had expanded the Ptolemaic map by adding information on Tartary and Japan gleaned from the accounts of Marco Polo (1254-1324).

Japan is a large island called Zipangri, a name derived from the Chinese ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, which Polo learned about from the Chinese. The first recorded European visit to Japan was not until the landing of the Portuguese Alvarado in Okinawa, 1542.

First issued in 1522, this second edition has the title, as above, is on the reverse, with a descriptive text in Latin, with woodcut columns and an astronomical diagram.  The map is depicted on a trapezoidal projection.  A vignette is located East of of the Chinese province Cathai, it shows the Great Kublai Khan (1215-1324) seated in a tent holding two swords. Marco Polo met Kublai Khan in 1269.