Map your way back in time
Rare, hand-coloured maps that date back to the 16th century have found their way into an online auction that offers a peek into 200 years of colonial India
The Asia Noviter Delineata (1665), estimated at Rs 2,75,000-Rs 3,00,000, has the highest opening bid
Those who would fancy the idea of the map of "Hindostan" from the 1800s hung up on their wall, or a colourful engraving of miniature maps of India, might be interested in an upcoming online auction, curated by StoryLTD, the online vertical of Saffronart. These antique maps date as far back as the 16th century, with the most recent one being from 1877, titled A Highly Decorated Map of the Distribution of World Religions.
Sourced from private collections, the maps range from engraved, hand-coloured, topographical renderings, to records of early settlements in India and around the world. Plan to own one? Be ready to spare anything between Rs 20,000–Rs 3 lakh.
Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio, (1599) by Belgian cartographer Gerard Mercator, is estimated between Rs 1,75,000-Rs 2,00,000
Some of the oldest maps in the catalogue include Miniature Maps of India, circa 1598 –1618 by Dutch cartographer Petrus Bertius, and Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio (1599) by Gerard Mercator, a Belgian cartographer. "Maps prior to 1860 were made using handmade paper or rag paper. Maps created after the 1860s are printed on machine-made paper," says Minal Vazirani, co-founder Saffronart, adding, "We want to encourage buyers to acquire rare books, photographs and maps just as they would art. These have always featured as important categories in major auction houses around the world, and are beginning to garner interest in India. It's all about making a slice of history available to the contemporary collector."
It's a time travel through maps where the catalogue takes you through The Empire of the Great Moghul, the Plan of Bombay and Goa (1703-1772 and even the Mongol empire. Among the most prized items, is a map from 1665 by Dutch cartographer Joan Blaeu (1596- 1673), titled Asia Noviter Delineata that is estimated between R2.75–3 lakh, with a starting bid of Rs 2,41,400.
"We've seen maps and books being received well by buyers in the past. This sale in particular has many covetable lots, such as the ones I've mentioned. These would appeal to collectors of old maps, historians, academics and even the aesthete to adorn a wall," says Vazirani.
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