- Title: Asiae Nova Descriptio
- Author: Abraham Ortelius
- Date: 1579
- Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
- Condition: Very Good
- Inches: 26 x 21 1/2 [Plate Mark]
- Centimeters: 66.67 x 55.13 [Plate Mark]
- Product ID: 003198
Map of Asia, including India, present-day Sri Lanka, the Arabian Peninsula, Anatolia (present-day Turkey), Egypt, Russia, Japan, and Pacific islands such as Borneo and New Guinea. Bodies of water depicted include the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal.
Abraham Ortelius was a true Renaissance man. He served as Cosmographer to Phillip II, King of Spain, and in addition worked as a book dealer, cartographer, numismatist, naturalist, and historian. He had wide interests in classical scholarship and made his fortune in bookmaking and selling. He spoke six languages and had reasonable command of two others. He was without doubt one of the most prominent citizens of Antwerp in the late-sixteenth century, when the city stood as a global trading center, “the city of cities.” He had contacts throughout Europe from his extensive travels and counted the brightest intellectuals and entrepreneurs of his day among his friends.
Ortelius was the first to engrave maps in a uniform format, specifically for his atlas, and provide uniform content, with 53 maps in all. Prior to this, atlases were made-to-order-affairs, with no consistency in size or content. His success was such that four printings occurred in 1570 to meet demand, and the publication of the Theatrum launched 100 years of Dutch supremacy in cartography.