India and East Asia

Lorenz FriesMid 16th Century

Kalakriti Archives

Kalakriti Archives

An edition of the first map to show India in its ‘modern’ form, as a recognizable peninsula, based on a stolen Portuguese master map.

This fascinating map embraces all of South Asia and much of East Asia, as it was conceived by Europeans near the beginning of the 16th Century.

Most interestingly, India, which is named ‘India Intra Gangem’ (India within the Ganges), appears in its modern form, as a recognizable peninsula, for the first time. East Asia is termed ‘India Extra Gangem’ (India beyond the Ganges) and assumes comparatively crude outlines. India is framed by the ‘Indus Fl.’ (Indus River) and the Ganges River, while the west coast of India features many place names that were ports of call for the Portuguese during the period immediately following Vasco da Gama’s first arrival in India in 1498. These include ‘Cambaia’ (Khambhat), ‘Caliqut’ (Kozhikode), ‘Cochim’ (Kochi), ‘Cananor’ (Kannur), ‘Cangallor’ (Kodungallur) and ‘Mangalor’ (Mangalore).

The map is based on the depiction of the subcontinent featured on the “Cantino Planisphere” (1502), a revolutionary ‘top secret’ Portuguese manuscript world map that was stolen from Lisbon by an agent of Ercole I d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara, and which was since disseminated across Europe.

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  • Title: India and East Asia
  • Creator: Lorenz Fries
  • Date Published: Mid 16th Century
  • Location Created: Lyon
  • Physical Dimensions: 30 x 47.5 cm
  • Type: Document
  • Medium: Woodcut with hand colour
  • Title (Original): Tabula Nova utriusque Indiae