One of the rarest and most attractive Dutch sea charts focusing on Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Indian Ocean, intended for use at sea by the mariners of the Dutch East India Company (VOC).
This copperplate engraving - on thick paper to withstand the elements - appeared in Van Keulen's rare Maritime Atlas in the year 1680 in Amsterdam, and is one of the best and most important working charts of the Dutch Golden age. The map is decorated with compass roses, horizontal and vertical graticules and rhumblines, an elephant, dolphins and galleons. Two decorative figurative cartouches show European traders.
The chart stretches from the coast of Africa to New Guinea, and from North to South, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, the Philippines to Australia. The depiction of Australia is in the classical post-Tasman configuration, depicting the state of exploration in the region up to 1680.
This attractive map is highly collectable and a real cornerstone map of any high end Southeast Asian map collection.
Van Keulen family and Dutch chart making,
The Dutch produced a remarkable number of enterprising and prolific map and chart makers but not even the Blaeu and Jansson establishments could rival the vigour of the van Keulen family whose business was founded in 1680 and continued under their name until 1823 and in other names until 1885 when it was from wound up and the stock dispersed at auction.
Throughout the history of the family, the widows several of the van Keulen's played a major part, after their husbands' deaths, in maintaining the continuity of the business. The firm was founded by Johannes van Keulen who was registered as a bookseller in Amsterdam in 1678. In 1680 he published the first part of his 'Zee Atlas' which, over the years, was expanded to 5 volumes and continued in one form or another until 1734. More ambitious and with a far longer and more complicated life was his book of sea charts, the 'Zee-Fakkel', first published in 1681–82, which was still being printed round the year 1800. A major influence in the development of the firm was the acquisition in 1693 of the stock of a rival map publisher, Hendrik Doncker.
Although the firm was founded by Johannes van Keulen, he was primarily a publisher; it was his son, Gerard, a talented engraver, mathematician, Hydrographer to the East India Company, who became the mainspring of the business which not only published charts but also books on every aspect of geography, navigation and nautical matters. (Ref. Moreland and Bannister)