By: VALENTIJN, F.
Place / Date: Dordrecht /Amsterdam, 1724-1726,
Dimensions: 370 x 235mm.
Condition: 5 volumes in 7 luxury later half leather bindings, incl. 266 plates and maps, including a folding portrait of the author, an allegorical title and engraved dedication leaf with vignette, numerous text illustrations (two full-page), and 9 folding tables.
Volume 1; complete, in excellent condition with just some minor professional restorations; Volume 2; complete with minor professional restorations. Volume 3-1: complete, some water stains and damage on bottom right side of the book; Volume 3-2; complete with some foxing on title page; Volume 4-1; missing 4 portraits p 296,297,346 and 350, map p 26 is professionally restored, two maps of Batavia later added; Volume 4-2: complete, some water stains throughout the whole book in the top right corner. Volume 5-1: complete only plate 32 is upside down. Volume 5-2: complete but with water stains in top part of the second half of the book.
Overall: All plates and maps are in excellent condition if not otherwise stated. The book block 37 x 23.5 cm.
Description :“The most comprehensive work on Asia published in Europe during the early colonial period” (Landwehr). The first book to give a comprehensive account in text and illustration, of the peoples, places, and natural history of Indonesia” (Bastin & Brommer).
Volume I, part I contains the preliminary matter plus the Philippines and Acapulco;
– volume I, part II covers the Moluccas;
– volume II and volume III, part 1 cover Amboina;
– volume III, part 2 covers Amboina, Celebes, Borneo, and Further India;
– volume IV, part 1 contains Java;
– volume IV, part 2 contains Java, Surratt, China, Formosa, and Valentijn’s 1726 voyages;
– volume V, part 1 covers Coromandel, Persia, Malaya, Sumatra, and Ceylon;
– volume V, part 2 covers Malabar, Japan, Cape of Good Hope, and Mauritius.
The book is lavesly illustrated with 266 engraved plates and maps, most double-page or folding, some with several views, a few conjoined, with engraved illustrations in the text, illustrations by F. Ottens, J.C. Philips, J. Goeree, G. Schoute, O. Eliger, D. & W. Jongman, L. Lamsvelt, N.F. Diamaer, and J. Ledeboer, mostly after drawings by M. Balen.
François Valentijn, a native of Dordrecht in Holland, studied at the universities of Leiden and Utrecht. Valentijn lived in the East Indies for a total of 16 years, first employed at the age of 19 by the V.O.C. (i.e., the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or the Dutch East India Company) as minister to the East Indies, and later returning to serve as an army chaplain on an expedition in eastern Java.
He finally returned to his native Dordrecht and produced the Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën (1724 1726), a massive work of five parts published in eight volumes and containing over one thousand engraved illustrations and some of the most accurate maps of the Indies of the time. Valentijn probably had access to the V.O.C. s archive of maps and geographic trade secrets, which they had always guarded jealously. The work covers Dutch exploration and commercial ventures in the East Indies as well as Dutch settlements in China and Japan, parts of the Near and Middle East, the Philippines, Ceylon, and the Cape of Good Hope.
Valentijn includes accounts of the voyages of Abel Tasman in 1642-1643 and of Willem de Vlamingh to the western coast of Australia in 1696-1697. The wealth of fine maps and views include a folding map of Australia showing Tasman’s route, the first published view of Tasmania and of Western Australia (Dampier including only coastal profiles), and an especially fine, large “Tabula Indiae Orientalis et regnorum adjacentium”, including Australia.
The part includes the earliest views of Tasmania, whilst Vlamingh’s includes the first representation of the black swan (in volume III) with his ship at anchor at the mouth of the Swan.
References: Landwehr (VOC), 467; Cordier (Indosinica), 927-930; Cordier (Japonica), 426-428; Mendelssohn II, 535; Tiele II, 1121; Nissen (ZBI), 4213.; E.M. Beekman, Fugitive Dreams: An Anthology of Dutch Colonial Literature, pp. 55-80; Thomas Suárez, Early Mapping of Southeast Asia, pp. 232-237