Insularum Moluccarum Nova Descriptio.

Johannes Janssonius (*1588 - 1664)
Coloured map of Spice Islands, Indonesia, Moluccas. Printed in Amsterdam by Janssonius in 1633.

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Reference 12869

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This beautiful map shows the famed Spice Islands, crucial to the Dutch trading empire in the East Indies during the 17th Century. It shows the Indonesian archipelago of the Moluccas between Sulawesi and New Guinea. Akin to Blaeu's map, it goes a step further by encompassing the southern island of Bachian. This example is the earliest edition of the map and comes from the French edition of the Mercator-Hondius Atlas printed in 1633.

The map's charm lies in its ornate details, featuring an elaborate title cartouche supported by two sea monsters. Another cartouche displays the scale of miles. The map is adorned with various sailing vessels, sea monsters, and two intricate compass roses, with the north oriented to the right. Additionally, a native couple is depicted, showcasing the costumes and weapons characteristic of the region. This map not only captures geographical nuances but also offers a glimpse into the cultural richness of the Spice Islands during the early 17th century.


CartographerJohannes Janssonius
TitleInsularum Moluccarum Nova Descriptio.
Publisher, YearJanssonius, Amsterdam, 1633
Plate Size38.0 x 49.2 cm (15.0 x 19.4 inches)
Sheet Size48.0 x 56.2 cm (18.9 x 22.1 inches)
ReferenceVan der Krogt, P.: Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 8560:1.


Slightly wavy at the centerfold. Very good condition.


Johannes Janssonius also known as Jan Jansson was born 1588 in Arnhem, Netherlands. His father was a bookseller and publisher (Jan Janszoon the Elder). When he married the daughter of the cartographer Jodocus Hondius he also set up a business as book publisher in Amsterdam. His first map was published in 1616. Around 15 years later he set up a partnership with his brother in law Hondius add issued further editions of the Mercator/Hondius atlas. After his death in 1664, his heirs still have published several maps. Many of his plates have been acquired by Pieter Schenk and Gerard Valk.

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Johannes Janssonius: Insularum Moluccarum Nova Descriptio..
Coloured map of Spice Islands, Indonesia, Moluccas. Printed in Amsterdam by Janssonius in 1633.

Southeast Asia - Janssonius, Johannes - Insularum Moluccarum Nova Descriptio.

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