Paris: Denys Thierry, 1683. unbound. Miniature map. Uncolored copper plate engraving. Image measures 6" x 4". Sheet measures 8 1/4" x 5 1/2"
This miniature bird's-eye view of Ayutthaya, Thailand is from the original French edition of Manesson-Mallet's "Description de L'Univers." It shows the capital city of the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam from above, with detailed attention to architecture and streets. The surrounding Chao Phraya River is dotted with small ships, and people are shown on the coast. A banner bearing the map's title flutters in the sky. The map is in good condition with minor aging. Stain in upper right corner not affecting the image. Text on verso. Allain Manesson-Mallet (1630-1706) advanced from his position of musket bearer under Louis XIV to eventually occupy the position of "maitre de mathematiques" to the French King. He was the author and engraver of "Description de L'Univers," a five-volume survey of the world that included maps of the ancient and modern world, star maps, illustrations of flora and fauna, and information on the customs, religion and government of the many nations included in the text. When it was published, the text was the largest and most comprehensive work of its type. Intended to entertain its readers, Mallet's "Description" was a time capsule of the 17th-century world that captured and displayed it in all of its splendor.