Detail View: Old Maps Collection: The China Sea, the atlas Miller

Barcode: 
4687820501037
Title: 
The China Sea, the atlas Miller
Original Title: 
Atlas nautique du Monde, dit atlas Miller ; 2-5
Contributor: 
Homem, Lopo
Contributor: 
Reinel, Pedro, approximately 1464-
Contributor: 
Reinel, Jorge
Category: 
Sea Charts
Type: 
Manuscripts
Language: 
Latin
Language: 
Portuguese
Create Year: 
1519
Format: 
JPEG2000, 14658 × 10606, 24MB
Page No.: 
1
Scale: 
Scale not given
Note: 
This is perhaps the most beautiful chart in the entire Atlas Miller, yet it is simultaneously the falsest, and can categorically be labelled as somewhat fraudulent. In Ptolemy’s Geography, the Magnus Sinus, “the Great Gulf”, is located beyond the Aurea Chersonesus (Malacca Peninsula), its western border, and stretches eastwards as far as the land mass that supposedly linked China to Southern Africa, thereby closing off the Indian Ocean. However, Ptolemy only shows its maximum latitude as 18° N, which suggests that it was in fact a combination of the Gulf of Siam (whose northern border is at 13° 30' N), the Gulf of Tonking – which Portuguese charts and chronicles called the Cochin China inlet –, and the South China Sea, which reaches a latitude of c. 22º N. The gulf shown in this chart reaches a latitude of 45º N, while its southern border is not known since the coasts on the two sides stretch to the equator, the chart’s lower edge, suggesting that they continue beyond that line. This causes a clear paradox: besides the fact that the two sides of the gulf have different place-names in this chart and in the previous one, the drawing of the west coast bears no resemblance whatsoever to the chart of the “Parts of the South”. In the latter case, the coast ran broadly NE-SW, had two clear indentations and ended at Singapore point, accurately shown at a latitude of 1¾º N. In this map, it runs north-south and has no apparent end. In addition, the chart distances itself still further from Ptolemy by depicting a gulf full of islands, when Planudes’ tables, drawn from Ptolemy’s latitude and longitude tables, show no island at all.
Geographic Area: 
Indian Ocean
Geographic Area: 
India
Pub Title: 
Atlas nautique du Monde, dit atlas Miller
Pub Author: 
Homem, Lopo
Pub Author: 
Reinel, Pedro, approximately 1464-
Pub Author: 
Reinel, Jorge
Pub Year: 
1519
Provenance: 
Bibliothèque nationale de France