This print reflects an engraving of a scene of probably a scene from the, uh, uh, early 1800s, uh, of a native, uh, from Papua New Guinea in a dugout canoe, one looks like, with side riggers to give it stability and it appears that he’s using a spear to, uh, spear wild hogs that apparently are swimming in that part of the world. Uh, this is one of a pair of prints that my wife and I purchased when we were in Auckland in New Zealand and, uh, found an old bookstore that, uh, had these for- for sale. We were just intrigued with the way in which it revealed a lifestyle that is obviously quite foreign, uh, to most of us living here in the United States in this century, but, uh, exciting and revealing of the character and the, uh, rigor with which, um, life was led in that- in that day is reflected on the, uh, on the print.
This map is by a, uh, French, uh, cartographer, uh, named Jacques Bellin. Bellin was a great recorder of the oceans and the landmasses and the islands around the world. Uh, his pathbreaking work is still, uh, highly regarded. Bellin was a Frenchman, and one of the subjects, the subject that he took on here, was the continent, or huge island, of Australia. Well, this was in an early day in the middle of the 18th Century. And even as of that date it was not clear whether Australia was separate and apart from the mainland or whether it was connected. In this particular case, the assumption was that it was connected. And one of the reasons that I love this map is that, like so many others in the collection, it shows a best effort at getting the facts straight, but falling short for lack of better information.