Willem Jansz. Blaeu.

Around 1630 a  new atlas publisher appeared on the scene; Willem Jansz. Blaeu. With him a new trend in Amsterdam atlas production began, characterized by competition and increase in the number of maps.The history of the successive publications is extremely complicated and falls beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say that the quality of the maps grew thanks to the increase of the competition.

The oldest son of Hondius, Jodocus jr., had taken over the production of atlases and the management was taken over by younger brother Henricus, in about 1620 The relation between the two brothers was obviously not good, since the eldest conceived the plan of bringing a new atlas onto the market by himself. He had around 40 new maps engraved in copper for the purpose, but died before he could execute his plan. One way or the other, Willem Jansz Blaeu laid hand on the copper plates of Jodocus before his brother Henricus and his brother in law Johannes Janssonius could.

Blaeu entered the atlas market and became a competitor. Blaeu produced a new map and called his new atlas: Alantis Appendix, sive pars altera (Supplement to the Atlas). The word Atlas referring to that of Mercator.

 WillemJanszBlaeuAsiaAmsterdam1635.jpg (661375 bytes)Willem Janz. Blaeu (1571 - 1638) Asia Noviter Delineata. From Novus Atlas. Amsterdam 1635. Since the second decade in the 17th century Willem Jansz. added the surname Blaeu to be distinguished from Jan Jansz. (Janssonius). He added the characteristics of Hondius work: the pictures of people and views of cities. Korea is shown as Texeira.

After that the situation becomes complicated, since Henricus and Johannes wanted to publish a supplementary atlas as soon as possible. In March 1630 they gave the order to replace the missing plates. The new ones were true copies of the originals, since they were made by the same engravers.

The result of all this competition was that Blaeu produced a two-volume atlas (around 210 maps) in four languages, Hondius and Janssonius made an atlas in three volumes with around 320 maps (1638) Willem Jansz. Blaeu died in 1638 and his son Joan Blaeu succeeded him.

On the left we can see a detail from Willem and Joan Blaeu's China Veteribus Sinarum, the map of Korea. It was printed in 1640 in Amsterdam. Below it we can see the same image in Johannus Janssonius' Nova et Accurata Iaponiae, of which the first edition was printed in 1652. This one is from the 1657 edition, both printed in Amsterdam. It was a sea chart which was based oin Maarten Gerritszn Vries who in 1643 headed the first European expedition. The weather was bad which explain the many mistakes but we can see that the shape of Korea was the same as in Blaue, yet we will call this the Janssonius type, because of above mentioned reasons.


Joan decided to shunt off the head start which Janssonius enjoyed with his Novus atlas absolutissimus from 1658. Joan Blaeu's Atlas Maior sive Cosmographia Blaviana, published in 1662, was the most prestigious book and the "greatest and finest atlas ever published". In these series of atlases he also produced the Novus Atlas Sinensis by Martinus Martini, published by Joan Blaeu in Amsterdam around 1655. In this we find the following map:

On the back a description of Korea is printed. Since nobody really knew what Korea and Japan looked like, the map makers busily copied from each other or added some details which they received from British or Dutch sailors.

In Blaeu's Novus Atlas Sinensis we find another map of Korea. Here we see a major jump forward. This work was based on the work of the Jesuit father Martinus Martini. On his turn Martini had the data for these maps based on the revised Chu Ssu-pen's maps, Kuang yŁ-t'u made by the Chinese scholar Lo Hung-hsien (1504 - 1564). Shannon McCune points out that Martini's (Wei Kuangguo) map is based on a Chinese map from 1320, which was then (re)published in the 16th century. And this Chinese map is again based on a Korean map of the early 14th century. So on the map of Martini the contours of Korea come closer to the real shape. Cheju-do was called Fungma on this map and is Chinese for wind and horses, Cheju-do was famous for that.

Martinus Martini.

Martinus Martini, was born in 1614 in Trente and lived since 1643 in China, where he died on June 6, 1661. With four other Jesuit priests he arrived in June 1642 with the English ship "de Swaen" from Goa to Bantam and sent from there to G.G. van Diemen with a letter written in Latin (which was delivered at June 18, 1642 in Batavia) in which he requested to give passage to Macassar, Siam, Cambodia or the empire of Tonkin in order to reach China and Japan." This letter was sent to the opperhooft (chief) of Nagasaki to hand it over the the Regents of "Nagasacqui" or the commisionaries. "Martin Martini was sent to give informations to the Holy See; to his influence and abilities it is due that Alexander VII decreed in a manner perfectly contrary to the former Edict [with which some doctrines of the jesuits were condemned as heresy] While on his journey the great traveller passed Batavia.....
Living in Holland Martini prepared his maps of China and gave them over to the great cartographer Johannes Black [read: Blaeu] to be printed while he himself gave a full geographical description of the whole empire together with historical, political and scientific explanations...... In 1655 the whole work was published" (Dr. Schrameier, On Martin Martini, Journal of the Peking Oriental Society, Vol. II, 1888, bl. 105 en 106).

Martinus Martini arrived on July 15, 1652 from Macassar in Batavia and received permission to travel with the return ships to Holland. With the "Oliphant" he left Batavia at February 2, 1653 and arrived on November 16 of the same year in the "Vlie" (near Texel, an island in Holland) he left to Amsterdam. With a resolution of the Chamber of Amsterdam of the VOC he was granted a "Gratuiteijt van honderd rijksdaalders, ten aanzien van de goede diensten die hij toegeseijt heeft en van hem verwacht worden" (A gratuity of 100 "rijksdaalders", with regard to the good services he had promised and which were expected from him).

Fungma can also be seen on the following map, a copy from the Atlas Sinensis. We will call this shape and the mentioning of Cheju-do as Fungma alone as the Martini type. The text on the backside of this map can be found here

 PieterGoosSeaChartwithcoastofJapanAndKoreaAmsterdam1666.jpg (554499 bytes)Pieter Goos (c. 1616 - 1675) Noordoost cust van Asia van Iapan tot Nova Zembla, from De Zee Atlas ofte Water-Weereld..., Amsterdam, 1666. In the second half of the 17th century the interest in Siberia awakes, since it was hardly explored. To make the coastline of respectively Korea and Japan, Goos was mainly guided by assumptions. North of Japan he shows the by de Vries discovered coast of Ezo according to the map of Jansonius edition of 1658. Martini type

RobertMordenLondon1680.jpg (547400 bytes)Robert Morden (died in 1703) Japonae Ac Tarrae Iessonis Novisima Descriptio, from Geography rectified. Morden used the Martini type. On the map he connects the west point of the land discovered by de Vries with the coast of Korea. Note the peculiar I. d' Ladrones or Quelpaarts.

After the death of Johannes Janssonius in 1664 and Joan Blaeu in 1673 the Dutch cartography was already in decline.

To part 5: Hendrick Hamel.

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