17th Century China Maps
Fifteen maps of Chinese provinces taken from the "Novus Atlas Sinensis a Martino Martinus by Johannes Blaeu", 1655.

Original map sheets showing fifteen Chinese provinces. These maps formed part of the Novus atlas Sinensis by Martino Martini, published by Johannes Blaue, Amsterdam, 1655. The cartography is based on a European revision of Ming surveys. The Atlas Sinensis, apart from the technical excellence of its production, is important as being the first European atlas of China. It remained the standard geographical work on that country until the publication in 1737 of D'Anville's Atlas de la Chine.

The maps were drawn by the Italian Jesuit cartographer Martino Martini (1614-1661). Martini arrived in China as a missionary in 1642. He travelled extensively in the country visiting, according to his own account, seven of the fifteen provinces included in his work. Departing China for Rome in 1651, his ship was captured by Dutch privateers and taken to Norway. Whilst in Europe Martini arranged for the publication of his work. His Chinese maps were published by Johannes Blaeu as the Novus atlas Sinensis a Martino Martinus in 1655. This atlas formed the sixth book in Theatrum orbis terrarum published by the Blaeu family.
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