CHINA by Hondius (Early map of China, early Dutch Golden Age Map)

One of the most sought-after maps of China, published over 400 years ago in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The map shows China, Japan, Korea and the Northwest Coast of America, the Great Wall, Korea as an Island, and a badly misprojected Japan. The annotations beneath the land sailing craft suggest that this is an indigenous mode of transportation. On the Northwest Coast of America, the annotation references the Tartar hordes which inhabit the region and names Cape Fortuna, Anconde Island, Costa de los Tacbaios, Costa Brava and Alcones. Interesting depiction of eastern and western sailing craft, a sea monster and other decorative and fanciful features. A scene in a panel on the right shows an ancient Japanese torturing technique [actually shown is the crucifixion of Christians].

Jodocus Hondius the Elder, one of the most notable engravers of his time, is known for his work in association with many of the cartographers and publishers prominent at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century.

A native of Flanders, he grew up in Ghent, apprenticed as an instrument and globe maker and map engraver. In 1584, to escape the religious troubles sweeping the Low Countries at that time, he fled to London where he spent some years before finally settling in Amsterdam about 1593. In the London period he came into contact with the leading scientists and geographers of the day and engraved maps in The Mariner's Mirrour, the English edition of Waghenaer's Sea Atlas, as well as others with Pieter van den Keere, his brother-in-law. No doubt his temporary exile in London stood him in good stead, earning him an international reputation, for it could have been no accident that Speed chose Hondius to engrave the plates for the maps in The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine in the years between 1605 and 1610.

In 1604 Hondius bought the plates of Mercator's Atlas which, in spite of its excellence, had not competed successfully with the continuing demand for the Ortelius Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. To meet this competition Hondius added about 40 maps to Mercator's original number and from 1606 published enlarged editions in many languages, still under Mercator's name but with his own name as publisher. These atlases have become known as the Mercator/ Hondius series. The following year the maps were reengraved in miniature form and issued as a pocket Atlas Minor.

After the death of Jodocus Hondius the Elder in 1612, work on the two atlases, folio and miniature, was carried on by his widow and sons, Jodocus II and Henricus, and eventually in conjunction with Jan Jansson in Amsterdam. In all, from 1606 onwards, nearly 50 editions with increasing numbers of maps with texts in the main European languages were printed.

Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612)
China Early Map
Publication Place / Date
Image Dimensions
45 by 35 cm.
Hand coloring
Product Price
Product Number
USD 4,200
SKU #M.0454