Unrecorded second state of De Jode's map of Asia
By JODE, Gerard de , 1578

Asiae Novissima Tabula

Asia Continent of Asia
  • Author: JODE, Gerard de
  • Publication place: Antwerp
  • Publisher: Gerard Smits
  • Publication date: c1590
  • Physical description: Double-page engraved map, Latin text to verso, watermark of a bunch of grapes within a shield, banner below, Briquet 13215.
  • Dimensions: 410 by 560mm. (16.25 by 22 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 15769


Unrecorded second state of Gerard de Jode’s map of Asia.

The map, published by Gerard de Jode in his ‘Speculum Orbis Terrarum’ in 1578, is not only one of the first maps to depict the Philippines, but also one of the earliest to name Singapore, here marked ‘Cinapura’. The cartography is based on Mercator’s seminal world map ‘Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio’, published in 1569. The work stretches from eastern Europe to the west coast of North America. Although Ortelius had included the west coast of America on his map of Southeast Asia ‘Indiae Orientalis’, published in 1570, its is highly unusual for maps of the whole continent to show America’s coastline, with the only other sixteenth century example published in Solinus’s Polyhistor of 1538.

The present example has been heavily reworked and includes many additional place names, extending the map to the left and the right margins, heavily revising the west coast of America, together with the addition of two new engraved side borders.

The additional names are: Mare Indicum (Indian Ocean); Mare Della China (The Sea of Japan/Korea); Aegeum Mare (Adriatic Sea); Mare del Sur (Pacific); Russia (Russia); Sarmatia Asiatica (Russia); Kondori (Russia); Europae pars Occidens (Western Europe); Candia Pars (Crete); Salonica (Thessaloniki); Belgian Mons (mountains in China); and Tangut (China).

The left and right decorative borders have been erased to increase the works cartographic scope to include: in the west Thessaloniki, and Crete, and in the east a greater portion of the western coast of North America. The American coastline has been completely redrawn removing the lower section together with the place names: Tucano, Quivira, and Tiguex. The Asian coastline of the ‘Stretto de Anio’ (the mythical Straits of Anian) has also been remodelled. To the lower right of the map de Jode has included the ‘Arcipelago d.s. Lazaro’ (St Lazarus Islands). The name had originally been applied to the Philippines by Magellan, in 1521, as their first landfall on the archipelago had been on the day of the feast of St Lazarus. However as mapmakers such as Ramusio had underestimated the distance between the Marianas Islands and the Philippines, the distinction between the two were lost. Beginning with Ramusio (and copied by the likes of Ortelius) we see a tendency to push the name further east to denote islands of Micronesia, such as here. Finally de Jode has engraved two new borders, on two pieces of copper, which have here, been slighly set away from the maps copper plate.

It would appear from the present example, and his map of the world ‘Universi Orbis Seu Terreni Globi in Plano Effigies’ – which is also known in later states – that Gerard was working on a second edition of the atlas before his death in 1591. Many of the revisions and additions to the present map are also evident on de Jode’s wall map of Asia, published in around 1590 – the only surviving example of which is now housed in the Gottingen University Library. It is most likely that the publication of the wall map (Gerard also published maps of Africa, America, and Europe) acted as a catalyst for the present maps revision. Unfortunately the present state would have a very short life, as following Gerard’s death in 1591 his son Cornelis in his edition of 1593 replaced all the continental maps with new plates based on the work of Gastaldi.


We have been unable to trace another example of this state appearing at auction since the second world war. We have also been unable to trace any institutional examples.

Gerard de Jode

Gerard de Jode (1509-1591) was a cartographer and publisher. The ‘Speculum Orbis Terrarum’ was intended as competition for Abraham Ortelius’ ‘Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’. The two, who made their living partly as map-sellers, were competitors and apparently not always on good terms. It has been suggested that Ortelius was responsible for delaying the publication of de Jode’s work, by using his extensive contacts to prevent de Jode’s atlas being granted the necessary approbations (or privileges), as Ortelius wished to protect his own work. De Jode did not gain all the necessary approbations until 1577, some seven years after the publication of the ‘Theatrum’, the first copies of the ‘Speculum’ being sold at Plantin’s shop in 1579. Ortelius’ cunning plan would seem to have worked, as Plantin’s records suggest that very few copies were actually sold. Although sales of de Jode’s work were less than ideal, the work was evidently held in high regard, with several contemporary works citing its importance alongside the atlases of Mercator and Ortelius. Following Gerard’s death in 1591, n expanded and revised edition was published by his son Cornelis in 1593.