ARNOLDUS MONTANUS (1625-1683)
Gedenckwaerdige Gesantschappen der Oost-Indische Martschappy in’t Vereenigde Nederland aen de Kaisaren van Japan, Getrokken uit de Geschriften en Reiseaentekeninge der zelver Gesanten.
Published by Jacob Meurs, Amsterdam 1669
Copperplate engraving, 28 x 77.5 cm
Tokyo can be viewed on the hills in the distance. On the foreground a procession can be seen supposedly of the Dutch “Opperhoofd” on his court journey in a palanquin. Underneath are 62 legends to the most important buildings of the city in the distance. Every year the “Opperhoofd” of the Dutch factory at Deshima had to undertake a court journey to Edo (Edo sanpu) to pay his respect to the Shogun and of course to bring him interesting presents from the West.
The Dutch company consisted of the “Opperhoofd”, the Scriba, the medical doctor of the factory, two translators, two officials of the office of the governor of Nagasaki and about fifty carriers. The whole journey took about 90 days, half of it by boat and the other half in palanquins (norimono) as shown in the present print. Montanus, a Latinized form of the Dutch name “van den Berg”, was born in Amsterdam. He studied theology at Leiden University and became a minister, first in Schellinwoude and later in Schoonhoven where he also became headmaster of the Latin School. He published books on theology, history and geography of both the Netherlands and far-away countries.
His most famous book is De Nieuwe en Onbekende Wereld, published in 1671 by Jacob Meurs. His book on Japan was translated into English and French. Montanus never left Holland. His books and the illustrations are based on the accounts and sketches of the travellers to these far-away places.