Paris: Denys Thierry, 1683. unbound. Miniature map. Uncolored copper plate engraving. Image measures 6" x 4 1/2". Sheet measures 8 1/4" x 5 1/2"
This miniature view of the Cocos or Keeling Islands, located near Australia, is from the original French edition of Manesson-Mallet's "Description de L'Univers." The main island emerges from a sea full of ships, with the smaller Isle des Traitres behind it. In the foreground is a large and bustling ship, with passengers--perhaps explorers--both boarding and leaving from small rowboats. A banner bearing the map's title flutters at the top. The map is in good condition with minor aging. 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 its splendor.