Paris: Denys Thierry, 1683.
Miniature view. Copper plate engraving with hand coloring. Sheet measures 8" x 5.25".
This miniature map by Allain Manesson-Mallet dates to 1683 and depicts the Moluccas, part of the so-called Spice Islands, otherwise known as the Maluku Islands, in Indonesia. The map covers the Islands in North Maluku from Pulau Hiri and Ternate to Bacan. Various vessels fill the expanse of water around the islands, seemingly engaged in naval warfare. Trees, hills, and fortifications are noted on the islands.
Covered largely in mountains and forests, the islands were highly valued by the Dutch as a center for the trade in nutmeg, mace and cloves that were originally found only there. The title is printed on a trompe-l'oeil banner. The map appeared in the French edition of Manesson-Mallet's "Description de L'Univers" and bears the text "De l'Asie Figure LVIII" in the top margin. The view is in good condition with minimal foxing.
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. At the time, the text was the largest and most comprehensive work of its kind ever published. 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.