Old Maps Collection
Carte universelle hydrographique
Carte universelle des costes maritimes par Jean Guerard en 1634
Guérard, Jean, 15---1640, cartographer
JPEG 2000, 11463 x 8433, 14MB
Scale not given.
Physical Map Dimension (cm):
35 x 48 cm, on sheet 45 x 55 cm
This map is more likely a study map than a navigation instrument. Devoid of rhumbs but rich in nomenclature, it is clearly more geographical than nautical. This example illustrates that 17th century French map makers were not particularly up to date or accurate in their cartography. In reality in this map there is a mix of recent discoveries and ancient beliefs. Off the coast of Ireland, two islands, 'Brasil' and 'Maidan', are imaginary and many 16th century portolans depicted them. In Asia, even if the placement of the Great Wall of China is correct, to the north, the name 'Cathaya' of Marco Polo is still marked. Macao is written twice on the map, on land and in the sea near an island. However Japan is correctly oriented East-West and the Philippines, the Sunda Islands and New Guinea form a fairly correct set. The 'Terre Australle' extends throughout the map maintaining the belief in a vast southern continent. In North America, an inscription placed beneath the coat of arms of Cardinal de Richelieu and above California -still depicted as an island- states that it is believed that there is passage from there to Japan. Actually this seems to be the first map to have Japan written with this same spelling. There are two ancillary maps on each bottom corner of the mapa mundi. The sphere on the left -18 cm in diam.- is a calendar, the concentric circles represent -from the outside towards the center- the months, the days, the signs of the zodiac, the phases of the moon and the seasons. The sphere on the right -also 18 cm in diam.- illustrates the known notions on the terrestrial globe: meridian, equator, tropical ecliptic and polar circles. It also depicts the axis of the zodiac.
Original is a manuscript map on parchment, 37 x 48 cm. On the back has a manuscript note 'Carte universelle des costes maritimes par Jean Guerard en 1634'.
Coat of arms of Cardinal de Richelieu drawn on the upper left corner of the map in North America.
Relief shown pictorially through the drawing of mountains where is the Great Wall of China.
The four borders of the map labelled with North, South, East and West in Latin Septentrion (Septentriones), Miri (Meridies), Occident and Orient respectively.
The map is framed with latitude and longitude lines in red and white interchangeably. There are another latitude line in the middle of the map and longitude line as the Equator, both in black and white interchangeably. Between the scales of the latitudes and the border, in the left margin, indication of the 'Zone Froide', 'Zone Temperee', 'Zone Torride', 'Zone Temperee' and 'Zone Froide'; and in the right margin 'Nombre des Climats Austraulx' and 'Nombre des Climats Boreaulx'.
Coast lines in colour both on land and on water. Islands coloured red, blue or gold. There are 12 sea monsters drawn in the water masses.
Toponyms in black and red.
Map outlined in a triple border of gold, red and black.
Macao in world maps.
Pflederer, R. Census of Portolan Charts and Atlases, p. 60
Mollat du Jourdin, M. Sea Charts of the Early Explorers: 13th to 17th century, 84, p. 259
World -- Maps
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Provenance Call No.:
GE SH ARCH-15