Indiae orientalis insvlarvmqve adiacientivm typvs, Amsterdam, 15841584

by Abraham Ortelius

New Guinea is depicted as a large land mass shown at the bottom right corner. It is not known whether it is an island or part of a larger continent. Below Java is a mysterious reference; Beach, pars continentis Australis. Marco Polo had named a southern land mass beach suggesting a possible southern continent.

This fascinating and beautiful map combines the factual with the fantastic. A growing interest by the Dutch in the East Indies’ trading potential is reflected in the detail of the islands of Java, Sumatra, and the Moluccas or Spice Islands. While in the Pacific Ocean (called Orientalis), mermaids attend to their hair and sea monsters cause havoc off the coast of America.