Guillaume Delisle. “Carte Des Indes et de la Chine.” Amsterdam: Jean Covens & Cornelius Mortier, ca. 1730. 24 1/4 x 24 1/2. Engraving. Original outline hand color. Very good 6condition.
A highly detailed map of Southeast Asia by Guillaume Delisle (1675-1726), the leading French cartographer of the eighteenth century and one of the greatest of all time. He is known as the “father of scientific cartography” because he was the first publisher to use methods of mensuration and triangulation in map preparation. According to Tooley, “his work was highly rated, not only by his own countrymen, but by the world at large.” (Maps and Mapmakers, p. 43), and he was certainly “the most prominent figure at the beginning of the century.” (Ibid.)
Asia was an area of great interest to eighteenth century Europeans, and this map shows a gradual expansion of their geographic knowledge of the region. This map, by Delisle, presents as up-to-date and correct information as was available. Depictions of towns, rivers, political divisions, and some topography are neatly and clearly presented. From West to East the map shows Tartaria at its western extreme, all of India, Southeast Asia, the East Indies, China, Korea, and Japan. The publishers of this edition of the map, Jean Covens and Cornelius Mortier, purchased Delisle’s plates after his death, and continued to issue the maps from their press in Amsterdam. They enhanced their issues with the use of hand color, well evidenced in this attractive and interesting historical document.