Africa nova descriptio. W. BLAEU, J.
Superb Original Color Example Of a Dutch Masterwork of Africa
[Amsterdam, c. 1647]

Africa nova descriptio.

16 1/8 x 21 3/4 inches. Fine original color; fine condition.

A stunning, original-color example of "one of the most decorative and popular of all the early maps of Africa."  -- Norwich.  Blaeu’s Ships, monsters and animals abound in this sumptuous engraving.  In spite of its rich detail, the design of the map is remarkably clean and sharp, particularly in regard to the coastline.  Yet the map is deceptive as to its overall accuracy.  Its remarkably accurate general outline and the plentiful interior detail disguise the near-complete ignorance of Africa’s interior among Europeans at the time.

            The top border panels consist of town and port views, primarily of North African ports but including others, such as Mozambique. The map also depicts a variety of natives in traditional dress, including Moroccans, Senegalese, “Merchants in Guinea,” “Congolese Soldiers” and others. This stands as one of the signature maps of the leading cartographic publisher of the Dutch Golden Age.

* Betz, 57.3; van der Krogt 8600:2; Norwich, Map 32.


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