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About the Novus Atlas Sinensis

  The Novus Atlas Sinensis (New Atlas of China) was prepared by the Jesuit Priest Father Martino Martini of the Society of Jesus and published in 1655. The unique copy in the Special Collection of the Cal State Hayward Library is autographed by the author and colored entirely by hand.

The second landmark in the European mapping of China was the appearance of the Atlas Sinensis in 1655 . This was compiled by Father Martino Martini, an Italian Jesuit who died at Hangtzhou in 1661. Based on Chinese sources, it was far in advance of any previous European work. For the period it was remarkably accurate, being the first to show a more correct eastern coast-line with the Shantung promontory. Published in Amsterdam in 1655, it was incorporated at that date, and in the later editions, of the "Great" atlas issued by Blaeu. It consisted, besides text, of a general map of China, 15 maps of individual Chinese provinces, and a general map of Japan. As was usual with Blaeu's publications, it was offered for sale both plain and coloured. The Atlas Sinensis, apart from the technical excellence of its production, is important as being the first European atlas of China. It remained the standard georgraphical work on that country till the publication in 1737 of D'Anville's Atlas de la Chine.

R.V. Tooley. Maps and Map-makers. London: Batsford, 1972.

Novus Atlas Sinensis


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