Nuremberg: Johann Peter van Ghelen, 1735.
Map. Engraving with hand coloring. 19" x 23"
Impressive hand-colored map of Central Asia showing all regions surrounding the Caspian Sea, extending from the Tigris River to the Pamir-Alay mountains. This map was printed by Johann Peter van Ghelen, a Vienna-based bookseller, after a manuscript map made by Abraham Maas in 1728, and published in the Homann Heirs' atlas in 1735. Historically significant to Central Asian toponymy, this was the first printed map to use the name "Uzbek". Place names and inscriptions are in Latin, and correspond to a map in Russian made by an unknown mapmaker for Tsar Peter I in 1723, which Maas used as a reference. Cities and towns are labeled, including Samarkand, Turkistan, Cabul, etc. Nomadic settlements are represented with pictorial tents, mostly seen in the eastern half of Usbek. Mountains and forests are also rendered pictorially, while deserts are largely missing from this map. Rivers and coastal features are prominently depicted, as well as various trade routes including the silk road. The Aral Sea is seen in the center of the map, feeding the Amu and Sirt Rivers, with a desert occupying the middle of the lake. An inscription describes the lake, with fresh (sweet) water and reeds at the shores, but salty and bitter at the center, where the lake "loses water". Today, the Aral Sea has largely dried up. A decorative cartouche in the upper right corner features three men in local costume, one on horseback, and one seated smoking from a water-pipe. A Dutch figure is depicted holding the title cartouche. This map is in excellent condition. Minor wear along original fold lines, with some professional Japanese tissue reinforcement. Exquisite contemporary coloring accentuates the map's features.
Abraham Maas was a Dutch cartographer active in the early 18th century. He worked in Russia for the Geographical Department of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.