Moll's Large Map of AsiaSKU: 9547
Moll's Large Map of Asia
Date of publication:
58 x 97 cm
Moll's map of Asia is dedicated to William Cowper (1665-1723), the first to hold the office of Lord Chancellor (and from 1718 the first Earl Cowper). Cowper’s coat of arms, together with symbols of his office (the Lords’ Mace and a cushion which may represent the Woolsack), are set above the cartouche, which is flanked by figures representing the peoples of the region and their wealth. Insets include Mumbai, the Hooghly River and the ‘Ice Sea’ to the north of the continent, which it was hoped would provide a navigable northeast passage to the riches of Asia.
The map features some interesting cartographic conjectures, including the entirely mythical Compagnies Landt northeast of Japan, supposedly discovered by Jean de Gama, and the equally mythical Lake Chiamay, which had been depicted as the source of the great river systems of southeast Asia since the mid 16th century. Notes on the map amplify and explain some of the uncertainties, for example whether or not ‘Iesso’ (Eso or Hokkaido, northern Japan) is part of mainland Asia.
Herman Moll (c. 1654-1732) was both map engraver and publisher, one of the most prolific and significant map-makers working in England in the late 17th and early 18th-centuries. He is now known to have been of German (rather than Dutch) origin, and he came to London at some point in the 1670s, initially working with established figures such as Moses Pitt. Our map was published by Moll in his large atlas, ‘The World Described’ and carries the imprints of Moll, John and Thomas Bowles and Philip Overton; Midwinter has been burnished from the plate but John King has not been added, and John Bowles’ address is given as ‘over against Stocks Market’, which suggests a date of c. 1723-26.
Condition & Materials
Copper engraving, 58 x 97 cm, original hand colour in outline with additional modern colour to cartouche, some restoration to folds, a couple of trivial closed tears, narrow margins, blank verso. Published in London.