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Hondius map of East Africa with the Kingdom of Prester John and inset of the Congo.

Place/Date: Amsterdam / ca. 1630
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Title: Abissinorum Sive Pretiosi Ioannis Imperiu
Dimensions
52 x 42 cm (20.5 x 16.5 in)
Identifier
NL-00698
Coloring
Hand color
Condition Rating
VG

Description

A lovely example of the Mercator-Hondius map focused on East Africa and the mythical Kingdom of Prester John, and including a large inset of the Congo with a detailed depiction of the known west-central African river system.

Prester John was a legendary Christian patriarch, presbyter (elder) and king who was popular in European chronicles and tradition from the 12th through the 17th centuries. He was said to rule over a Nestorian (Church of the East) Christian nation lost amid the Islamic caliphates and pagan lands of the Orient, in which the Patriarch of the Saint Thomas Christians resided. The accounts are varied collections of medieval popular fantasy, depicting Prester John as a descendant of the Three Magi, ruling a kingdom full of riches, marvels, and strange creatures.

Two lakes, Zaire and Zarian, are shown as the source of the Nile.

Cartographer(s)

Jodocus Hondius

Jodocus Hondius (Latinized version of his Dutch name: Joost de Hondt) (14 October 1563 – 12 February 1612) was a Flemish engraver and cartographer. He is sometimes called Jodocus Hondius the Elder to distinguish him from his son Jodocus Hondius II.

Hondius is best known for his early maps of the New World and Europe, for re-establishing the reputation of the work of Gerard Mercator, and for his portraits of Francis Drake. One of the notable figures in the Golden Age of Dutch/Netherlandish cartography (c. 1570s–1670s), he helped establish Amsterdam as the center of cartography in Europe in the 17th century.

Condition Description

Very good. Minor wear along the edges and at the centerfold and some ruffling in the upper left corner outside the map image.

References

Van der Krogt 1, 8720:1A.

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