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Abraham Ortelius: Indiae Orientalis

Map: SEAS5142
Cartographer: Abraham Ortelius
Title: Indiae Orientalis
Date: 1572
Published: Antwerp
Width: 19 inches / 49 cm
Height: 14 inches / 36 cm
Map ref: SEAS5142
Southeast Asia, India, China, and Japan during the age of early exploration and discovery. This is the first published map to show Taiwan. It is embellished with ships and sea monsters, including a frightening scene of a ship being attacked by what is likely meant to be a whale. Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia are all wildly mis-shapen, adding to the map's charm.

The tip of a mysterious, unknown southern continent can be seen at the bottom of the map. This is sometimes believed to be a reference to Australia given its placement on the map and the use of the name "continentis Australis", but is more likely to be a reference to the large, southern landmass theorized since Ptolemaic times. The first recorded European landing in Australia was not until 1606, so most scholars agree that the connections are coincidental rather than intentional.

German text on verso (image available on request). Original hand-colour. [SEAS5142]