Blaeu’s Map of the Mughal EmpireSKU: 9253
Blaeu’s Map of the Mughal Empire
Date of publication:
42 x 52.5 cm
Magni Mogolis Imperium
Copper engraving, 42 x 52.5 cm, modern hand colour, slight spotting, closed centrefold split in lower margin, Latin text on verso.
This map of the Mughal Empire is dedicated by the Blaeu brothers to Joan Huydecoper van Maarsseveen (1599–1661), a prosperous dealer in pelts and armaments, property developer and six-time mayor of Amsterdam. There is no obvious connection with the Indies, although Van Maarsseveen’s father had been one of the original investors in the VOC.
Blaeu’s map of the Mughal Empire was one of the most widely disseminated early versions of the Roe-Baffin map, the first English map of northern India which revolutionised western understanding of the subcontinent and provided the model for most European maps for the next century.
Sir Thomas Roe was James I’s ambassador to the court of Jahangir at Agra between 1615-18. Roe's travels were extensive enough, initially from Surat to Ajmer, but his main purpose (in which he was unsuccessful) was to negotiate a trade agreement, and his duties were at court. Much of the information on the map must have been obtained through contacts there, rather than through personal observation, and reconciling his sources to create a comprehensive map is a considerable achievement. Luckily for Roe, the exceptional navigator and surveyor William Baffin was then in the service of the East India Company, and Baffin and Roe compiled the map on the voyage home in 1619.
Features of commercial and logistical significance such as Sher Sha Suri’s Grand Trunk Road between Agra and Lahore are prominent. Blaeu’s map is not a direct copy as he retains popular features of earlier maps such as the mythical Lake Chiamay, which had been depicted as the source of the great river systems of southeast Asia since the mid 16th century.
Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, Bl22.