GASTALDI, Giacomo (c. 1500-1566). Il disegno della seconda parte dell'Asia. [Venice: 1561].
Two sheets joined (18 4/8 x 29 inches to the neat line, full margins showing the plate mark), matted. A fine woodcut map of Egypt and the Middle East, depicting the Horn of Africa, the Arabian peninsula and southern Persia, extending eastward to Calcutta.
AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE EXAMPLE OF A VERY RARE MAP: THE FIRST ACCURATELY DRAWN LARGE-SCALE MAP OF THE MIDDLE-EAST.
Part two, of three maps of Asia by Gastaldi, published between 1559 and 1561. It covers the modern geographical areas of Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, part of Iraq and Iran, Pakistan and the west coast of India.
The published travels of Marco Polo, that had appeared in Ramusio's "Navigationi et viaggi" heavily influence Gastaldi's geography of this map, which is considered to be far superior to all previous maps of Asia.
Gastaldi was "Cosmographer to the Venetian Republic, then a powerhouse of commerce and trade. He sought the most up to date geographical information available, and became one of the greatest cartographers of the sixteenth century" (Burden). Giacomo Gastaldi was, and styled himself, 'Piemontese', and this epithet appears often after his name. Born at the end of the fifteenth or the beginning of the sixteenth century, he does not appear in any records until 1539, when the Venetian Senate granted him a privilege for the printing of a perpetual calendar. His first dated map appeared in 1544, by which time he had become an accomplished engineer and cartographer. Karrow has argued that Gastaldi's early contact with the celebrated geographical editor, Giovanni Battista Ramusio, and his involvement with the latter's work, "Navigationi et Viaggi", prompted him to take to cartography as a full-time occupation. In any case Gastaldi was helped by Ramusio's connections with the Senate, to which he was secretary, and the favourable attitude towards geography and geographers in Venice at the time. Tibbett 28; Karrow 30/91.