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The most accurate map of India and the Gulf region to its time

[GASTALDI, Giacomo].
Seconda tavola.
[Venice], Ferrando Bertelli, 1565 [printed ca. 1570]. Engraved map of the Indian Ocean, Indian subcontinent and most of the Gulf region (28 x 39 cm; margins extended to 50 x 66.5 cm), at a scale of about 1:13,500,000 with north at the foot, with 3 sea monsters, a spouting whale and 3 ships in the ocean; and on the land elephants, lions and 2 people on horseback carrying spears. Although printed from a single copper plate, the present map image is divided into two parts, with a 7 mm gap between the right and left halves, so that nothing would be lost if the map were bound as a double-page plate.
€ 15,000
Rare very early engraved map showing the Indian subcontinent, the Strait of Hormuz, the eastern half of the Gulf, and the Indian Ocean, including the islands of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the Maldives, Seychelles, the western tip of Sumatra and what must be the eastern tip of Somalia. Many topographic names appear in forms used in early Portuguese accounts of voyages, but most can be identified. In India and Ceylon we find Goa, Mangalor (Mangalore), Cochin (Kochi), Calinapata (Calcutta?), Besinagar (Bangalore), Colmucho (Colombo) and many others; in the Gulf region Cor. Dulfar (Dhofar), the island Macira (Masirah), C. Resalgate (Ras el Had?), Galatia (the ancient site Qalhat), Mazcate (Muscat), the island Quexumo (Qeshm) and Ormus (Hormuz). There is even an unlabelled city close to present-day Abu Dhabi. Two of the ships are labelled with their destinations: Calicut (Kozhikode) on the Malabar Coast and Molucche (the Moluccas) in the East Indies.
Gastaldi first published a similar map as one of a set of three woodcut maps in the first volume of the second edition of Giovanni Battista Ramusio, Navagationi et viaggi, Venice, 1554. These were a great advance on earlier maps, taking account of new information from Portuguese explorers. The woodblocks and whatever copies of the printed edition had not yet been sold were destroyed by a fire in 1557, so for the 1563 edition the publisher had the three maps engraved on copperplates by Niccolo Nelli. Bertelli published the three maps without Ramusio's text, and his maps are usually supposed to have been printed from the 1563 plates. Bifolco & Ronca lists copies of the 1563 (84a) and the present 1565 (84b) state or edition together, but their separate lists of references suggest the present 1565 version is much rarer.
The margins have been cut down close to the edge and the margins then greatly extended with blank paper, but this paper is also contemporary. The map is very slightly browned at the edges and in the gap between the right and left halves (where the old fold has been reinforced on the back), but the map is otherwise in fine condition. A milestone in the cartography of India and the Gulf States, remarkably well preserved.
Bifolco & Ronca, Cartografia topografia Italiana 84b; Gole, Early printed maps of India 2; Karrow 30/74.2.
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Related Subjects:

Asia  >  Cartography & Exploration | Central & West Asia | India & Ceylon
Cartography & exploration  >  Asia | Atlases, Charts, Maps & Globes | Middle East & Islamic World
Early printing & manuscripts  >  Asia & Middle East | Cartography & Exploration
Middle east & islamic world  >  Cartography & Exploration