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A large wall map, Brasilia qua parte paret Belgis

Composing of nine, hand-coloured engravings and two additional strips available as loose supplements in the back of the reissue of Barlaeus’ book, translated in Dutch after the original Latin issue of 1647, by Martinus Nijhoff, ‘s Gravenhage 1923, in 160 copies. Included a copy (number 78) of the 1923 Dutch edition by Martinus Nijhoff of the Barlaeus book.

Three different issues of the nine-sheet map have been published in the 17th century. The first issue was published in 1647 as a loose supplement in only three copies of the book, published by Johannes Blaeu, Amsterdam. In 1659 the map was issued for the second time by Huygh Allardt, in Amsterdam, and for the third time in 1664, by Clement de Jonghe, in Amsterdam. Today only ten complete maps, out of these three different 17th-century issues of the Barlaeus book are recorded in public and private collections.

H. 116 x W. 161 cm

Frans Post (1612-1680) is almost certainly the author of the original drawings that served as the basis of the engraved vignettes that illustrate this large map drawn by the physicist, astronomer and cartograph George Marggraf (1610-1644) in 1643, as mentioned in the cartouche, top left. Marggraf was one of the scientists, cartographers, artists, and physicians who joined Maurits van Nassau-Siegen to Brazil. The vignettes were probably engraved by the same Jan Brosterhuizen (1596-1650) who produced the thirty-three prints for the book by Caspar Barleaus (1584-1648) Rerum per octennium in Basilia et alibi nuper gestarum, sub Praefectura Illustrissimi Comitis I. Mauritii, Nassoviae, &c. comitis, nunc Vesaliae Gubernatoris & Equitatus Foedeatorum Belgii Ordd. Sub Auriaco Ductoris, Historia (reading in short: Things that happened in Brazil during eight years under the government of Count Maurits van Nassau).

The original map of 1647 is among the most noteworthy cartographic achievements of the 17th century, a field in which Holland distinguished itself during that period. Barlaeus would boast that not even Europe had such a thorough map of comparable quality.

In the four main vignettes diverse scenes of Dutch Brazil are to be seen; at the centre, below and to the right of the title, Brasilia qua parte paret Belgis, hunting and cannibalism scenes of the Tapuias indigenous; below that, a group of enslaved Africans fishing in a river, a manioc mill, and to the right indigenous engaged in cooking and sleeping in hammocks; further below a sugar mill with water wheels to grind the sugar cane, and to the right some soldiers carrying the Dutch flag, followed by women carrying baskets. Also included are the four sea battles fought by the count against Spanish-Portuguese fleets, off the Brazilian north-eastern coast.

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