De Jode's rare map of Southeast Asia
By JODE, Cornelius de , 1593

Tertiae Partis Asiae.

Asia Southeast Asia
  • Author: JODE, Cornelius de
  • Publication place: [Antwerp
  • Publication date: 1593].
  • Physical description: Double page engraved map.
  • Dimensions: 327 by 506mm. (12.75 by 20 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 13057


De Jode based his survey on Giacomo Gastaldi’s 1561 map, which “provided the best and most inspired published rendering of the region in its day” (Karrow).

The map extends from the Indian peninsula through to China and Mongolia, showing a large part of Southeast Asia, including Sumatra, Malaysia, Brunei, the Moluccas, the Philippines, and Micronesia.

The cartography is derived from Spanish and Portuguese exploration, drawing on the voyages of Ferdinand Magellan, Álvaro de Saavedra and Ruy López de Villalobos. The Marianas Islands are labelled ‘Li Ladroni’ after Magellan, who named them after the inhabitants’ propensity for stealing. Two other curious features are ‘Vulcan’ Island and “Apri l’occhio”. Vulcan was reported in the Villalobos expedition as an erupting volcanic island, but Gastaldi, and therefore de Jode, has merged it with the island of Farfana, which was described as a high pointed rock. The phrase “Apri l’occhio” (open the eye) does not have a clear origin and may have been a cautionary phrase rather than a place. These two features mark the start of cartographic curiosity over navigational hazards in those waters, which would last until the early eighteenth century, even though ships routinely crossed those waters without any problems.

The map appeared in the second edition of the de Jodes’ atlas ‘Speculum orbis terrae’. The ‘Speculum’ was first published in 1578 by Gerard de Jode (1509-1591) with text by Daniel Cellarius. It was designed to compete with Abraham Ortelius’ atlas, ‘Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’, which had been published eight years earlier. Ortelius used his influence to disrupt de Jode’s application for a royal privilege. By the time this was finally granted, seven years after the publication of the ‘Theatrum’, Ortelius’ work had become so popular that de Jode’s atlas did not sell well, despite the accuracy and clarity of his maps.

His son Cornelis (1558-1600) continued his father’s publishing business after studying at Douai. He produced an enlarged edition of the ‘Speculum’ in 1593, which Gerard had been planning before his death. Either Cornelis or Gerard was the first person to make a globe following the geography of Mercator in the southern hemisphere; no copies of it survive to provide evidence.

Although sales of de Jode’s work were less than ideal, the atlas was evidently held in high regard, with several contemporaries citing its importance alongside the atlases of Mercator and Ortelius. Few examples of either edition of the ‘Speculum’ have survived, making the maps within a rarity.


  1. Van der Krogt 8400:32
  2. Suarez pp. 130-157.