China veteribus Sinarum Regio nunc incolis Tame dicta

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This is a map of Southeast Asia, including China, including the Korean Peninsula, and including Japan with a little bit of the Philippines down below for good measure. This map was done actually by both the mapmaker Willem Blaeu and also the mapmaker Jan Jansson, and was prepared by both of them in the 1630s. They were great rivals.

This particular map was a great advancement at the time. Before it was done, a mapmaker by the name of Abraham Ortelius had tried to depict East Asia, and it was very, very rough-hewn indeed. One might say the same of this map, but it has to be noted that it is, and was, a significant, significant improvement.

Several features might be pointed out. There is an island called “Pakan al I. Formosa,” which is modern-day Taiwan. Off to the west, there is a completely mythical lake, “Lake Chiamay,” in the western-extreme portion of the map, that happens to be where Assam, India now lies. So, you can see that, as with so many maps of this period, there was a lot of guesswork being engaged in by the mapmaker and not all of it was right. Happily, this map has survived in very good condition and is marked by beautiful delineation of the best knowledge that the mapmakers had at that time.



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