Ciampagu - Iava Maggiore [Japan and Borneo]

Benedetto Bordone (*1460 - 1539)
Antique woodcut map of Japan. Printed in Venice between 1528 and 1565.

More details

Reference 12204



The earliest Europe-printed map of Japan as an island

Early and very important map of Japan by Benedetto Bordone. On verso a map of the Southeast Asia islands Java or Borneo (Java Majjiore), sondur and condur (Pula Condore).

The corresponding text is translated by De Castro, pp. 62-63, as follow:

This island of Zipangu is situated in the East. Its people are fond of idols. The king is accountable to no one. The island has a lot of gold, precious stones and pearls. So wrote the Venetian Marco Polo in his third book.

The map shows an oval island with a large city at a bay and a castle in the mountains. The location of the city roughly corresponds to Kyoto, Kobe or Osaka on the main island of Honshu. Since the map is based on the writings of Marco Polo, any approximation to reality is probably only due to chance. The existence of Japan was doubted by many cartographers until Japan was rediscovered by Portuguese sailors in 1543.

On verso an also very important map of three East India islands. This map also goes back to Marco Polo's records. Although the main island is labeled as Java (Iaua Maggiore), it is probably Borneo because of the location marked on Bordone's world map. The two islands Sondur and Condur described by Marco Polo as being uninhabited, corresponds to Pula Condore.

From Libro di Benedetto Bordone... de tutte l'isole del mondo..., more commonly known as Isolario of Bordone, which first appeared in Venice in 1528. Three further editions followed in 1534, 1547 and 1565. The maps of all four editions were printed from the same woodblocks in Venice.


CartographerBenedetto Bordone
TitleCiampagu - Iava Maggiore [Japan and Borneo]
Publisher, YearVenice, 1528-1565
Plate Size8.6 x 14.7 cm (3.4 x 5.8 inches)
Sheet Size30.0 x 20.7 cm (11.8 x 8.1 inches)


Very good condition.


Benedetto Bordone was an Italian cartographer, chart- and mapmaker who worked in Venice during the beginning of the 16th century. He is best known for his Isolario, a geographical, historical and cultural description of the islands of the Mediterranean and the world, which first appeared in 1528. The genre Isolario was very popular in Italy at that time and was intended as an illustrated guide for sailors. Bordone also describes new discoveries in South and North America for the first time in an Isolario. The book contains a record of Pizarro's conquest of Peru, the earliest known printed report of the event. Of particular interest are 12 woodcut maps of America and the earliest map of Japan as an island printed in Europe.

Images to Download

If you like to download the image of this map with a resolution of 1200 pixels, please follow the link below.

You can use this image for publication on your personal or commercial websites for free if you set a link to this website. If you need photographs with a higher resolution, please contact us.

Benedetto Bordone: Ciampagu - Iava Maggiore [Japan and Borneo].
Antique woodcut map of Japan. Printed in Venice between 1528 and 1565.

Japan - Korea - Bordone, Benedetto - Ciampagu - Iava Maggiore [Japan and Borneo]

Accept We use cookies to optimize and continuously improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you agree to the use of cookies. Further information on cookies can be found in our Privacy Statement.