DE WIT, Frederick (c. 1630-1706). Sinus Gangeticus Vulgo Golfo de Bengala Nova Descriptio. Amsterdam: F. De Wit, [c. 1710].

$ 600.00

Single sheet, (20 ¾ x 24 ¾ inches; 18 ¼ x 21 ¾ inches to the neat line; full margins showing the plate mark). Fine engraved map of part of the Bay of Bengal, with ORIGINAL HAND COLOR IN FULL, the individual territories shown in different bold watercolors of yellow, green, and pink, the decorative title cartouche featuring exotic figures, HEIGHTENED WITH LIQUID GOLD, the distance scale surrounded by cherubs, and 2 fine compass roses, with North oriented to the right, decorated with LIQUID GOLD (old central fold, slightly toned).

Extremely fine sea chart of the Bay of Bengal, showing Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the east coast of India, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Siam (Thailand), Malaysia, and Sumatra, as well as the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands. SKILLFULLY AND ATTRACTIVELY HAND-COLORED, and embellished with LIQUID GOLD. North is oriented to the right, as indicated by two very fine compass roses. With a gorgeous asymmetrical decorative cartouche and distance scale surrounded by cherubs, and the sea dotted with sailing vessels. Some of the toponymy is influenced by Ptolemy, with the Bay of Bengal being noted as “Sinus Gangeticus” and “India Intra Gangem” for the areas lying between the Indus and the Ganges.

The Bay of Bengal was an extremely important trade route during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, particularly for the Dutch, though local traders edged in on the European competition starting in the seventeenth century. “After 1641 the Dutch attempt to monopolize the tin trade failed in the face of strong Indian competition. In the second half of the seventeenth century the rise of Johor in alliance with the Dutch gave the Indians opportunity to establish links with Riau which was the up and coming emporium for archipelago trade. Indian Ocean traders were generally on the retreat in the face of advancing Dutch power in Indonesia but after 1670 there was some kind of a resurgence of Indian trade in the Bay of Bengal area which helped to re-establish links with western Indonesia” (Paul H. Kratoska, “South East Asia, Colonial History: Imperialism before 1800,” p. 119).