Chinae, olim sinarum regionis, nova descriptio
[A new map of China, once called the region of the Sinae]
By Abraham Ortelius (1527 - 1598)
Published by Christopher Plantin, Antwerp, 1592 (first published by the same publisher in 1584)
Text in Latin
Great wallAt the north, the great wall is shown between two mountain ranges, as mentioned in the text of the accompanying cartouche: “A wall of four hundred miles has been constructed between the edges of the mountains by the kings of China against the invasion of the Tartars in this part.” A lake is shown in the province of Sancii (陝西 Shaanxi) where in 1557 a great flood took place (an event confirmed by Chinese contemporary sources, even though for the year 1556), as described in the text: “This round lake in the province of Sanci came about as a result of a flood in the year 1557, during which seven entire communities were inundated, next to small cities and villages, and a gigantic number of dead people were the result, except for one boy only, who was saved by climbing onto the floating trunk of a tree.”
Wind wagonsNote the four wind wagons on the right and top of the map, perhaps the earliest examples of a depiction of this device, which in Europe is certain to have originated in the Low Countries.
- Discussion in Van der Broecken’s scholarly website on the Theatrum http://www.orteliusmaps.com/book/ort164.html
- Van der Broecken, Marcel, Ortelius atlas maps : an illustrated guide, Houten: Hes & de Graaf, 2011, 491-493.
- Lach, Donald Frederick, Asia in the making of Europe, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, vol. 1.2, 1965, 818-19.
- Suárez, Thomas, Early mapping of Southeast Asia, Periplus, 1999, 170-171.
- CITCO 2003 May
- Needham, Joseph, Science and Civilization in China, Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology, Part 2, Mechanical Engineering, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965, 274-281.