Asia Partiu Orbis Maxima MDXCVIII

Scarce late 16th-century old colour German map of Asia by Matthed (Matthias) Quad (1557 – 1613) a Dutch geographer, humanist and engraver, who studied in Heidelberg and settled in Cologne before 1587 and returned to Cologne in 1600. Matthias Quad was the most prolific member of the “Cologne School of Cartography”, a renaissance of Dutch mapmaking which began in 1570 when large numbers of Dutch geographers and engravers came to Cologne seeking refuge from religious and political persecution. Dated 1598 and published by Johann Bussemachaer (fl. 1580 – 1613) cartographer, engraver and printer of Cologne in the third edtion of Quad’s Atlas Geographische.

Showing the entire continent, from the east coast of Africa to the subcontinent to Japan. The land is covered with toponyms; small buildings of varying detail mark settlements and rounded mountains rise in high altitude areas.

Of particular importance are the Philippines, which are easily recognized if not precisely shown; this is one of the first European maps to show and name the island group. The other islands in Southeast Asia are relatively well delineated, reflecting the growing knowledge being gained from the European, particularly Portuguese, trading voyages to the area. Within a decade of this map's publication, the Dutch East India Company and the English equivalent would be thriving enterprises.

The map is a delightful amalgam of cartographic information and conjecture. Japan is a triangular shape that curves to the south. The Korean Peninsula is nowhere to be found. Land in the lower right corner is labelled as Tierra Baixa, a toponym that appeared on several maps during the late-sixteenth century. It is meant to represent the western coast of New Guinea.

The main source for this map is De Jode's map of Asia. The map appeared in the De Jode atlas, Speculum Orbis Terrae, in 1593. Quad (1557-1613), a map publisher based in Cologne, was trained in the Netherlands by Johannes van Doetecum, who also worked with the De Jodes. Quad used many De Jode maps as a base to which he added additional information and decorations.

Asia Continent - Year 1600
Publication Place / Date
Image Dimensions
30 by 22 cm.
Hand coloring
Product Price
Product Number
USD 850
SKU #M.0380