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Lot number: 16857
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Publisher: VAN DER AA, P / CASSINI, J.
Title: Planisphere Terrestre, Suivant les nouvelles Observations des Astronomes.
Published: Leiden, 1713

Size: 21.1 x 25.8 inches.
53.5 x 65.5 cm.
Colouring: Uncoloured.
Condition:  Paper slightly age-toned. Some slight discolouration along top part center fold with paper thinness. A very good and dark impression. Lower margin cut short.
Here offered in it's original b/w state showing the exquisite etching quality of G. van Gouwen.

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Beyond its sheer beauty, this North Polar projection or azimuthal, eduidistant world map represents an important step in the history of mapping. Karpinski consider its the first strictly scientific map of the world. However, despite the cartographic advances, California still appears as an island. Based on the famous 1696 Planisphere by Jacques Cassini, the map was developed from data collected at many observatories in such distant places as Malacca, Nanking and Guadeloupe.
As the information was collected and sent to Paris, it was transferred to a gigantic planisphere.
Cassini was highly trained and disciplined scientist, a skilled astronomer, and a geodesist.
This was the first map to set standard longitudes for known places based on scientific calculations.

This spectacular adaptation of the map by Van der Aa is perhaps the most elegantly engraved of the California as an island maps.
Etched by Gilliam van der Gouwen (ca. 1640, Antwerp? - in or after 1720) after J. Goeree.

Technological advancements in the seventeenth century brought dramatic change to the history of European map making. Diverging from the traditional Ptolemic world maps, cartographers experimented with different ways to illustrate the world's surface such as the "Polar Projection," in which one of the poles is shown at or near the center of the map, and the earth is illustrated as though viewed from a long distance.

Van der Aa's striking engraving is based on an earlier polar projection, executed by Frenchman Jean Dominique Cassini. Cassini's map, produced in 1682, measured 8 meters long and lay on the floor of the French Academy of Sciences, of which Cassini was appointed director in 1671. Like its predecessor, the van der Aa map contained the most up-to-date cartographical information available in its day. The internal detail of this map-the marking of the astrological stations with small stars and the intricate notation of the geographical characteristics of the continents-is an indication of the extensive development of navigational techniques made in Europe in the seventeenth century.
While retaining the precision and beauty of the original Cassini map, van der Aa elaborates on the design by adding masterfully engraved classical figures in each of the map's four corners. The tradition of decorative border engravings came into being in the later seventeenth century. Such illustrations added information to the basic cartographic content of each map and often served to educate the viewer about the continents' inhabitants, culture, and environment. Van der Aa was a venerated publisher and cartographer in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He had his own publishing house in Leiden, Germany, where he produced numerous Atlases, including "La Galerie Agrédable du Monde" (1729), and "Nouveau Theatre du Monde" (1713), in which this map appeared.


Reference: Karpinski, XXXVII, p.117: Bagrow, History of Cartography..

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Item category: World Maps

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