Exceptional “Blue Map” of the Chinese World leads Americana sale

“Blue Map” of the Chinese World

PBA Galleries will hold an auction of Americana – Travel & Exploration – Maps and Views on December 16th, 2021. The sale comprises 400 lots of books, manuscripts, maps, ephemera, and other items, covering the exploration and exploitation of the American continents and the far reaches of the globe, their cultural, social, and economic development, and paths through history. There is much on the westward movement in the United States, the relentless growth of California, and the quest for that more perfect union. China and Central Asia are well represented, as is Mexico and New Spain, the higher latitudes, and much more.

An exceptional, superbly restored example of the renowned “Blue Map” of the Chinese World, c.1810 leads the sale. The map depicts the Qing Dynasty’s world minimizing the European notion of a map of the world, its centralized and marginalizing construct confirming the Qing/Chinese notion of the Central Kingdom. Russia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Korea are clearly defined .To the upper left of the map lie the Mediterranean (‘Small Western Ocean’), and Atlantic (‘Great Western Ocean’), with both the Netherlands and Great Britain shown as islands (Estimate: $150,000-$200,000).

Other maps featured in the auction include Abraham Ortelius’ important map of China, a beautiful hand-colored copy, issued in the rare English-language edition of the Theatrum, published in 1606. The striking, beautifully colored example is the earliest printed map to focus on China and the first to illustrate the Great Wall (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000). The 1810 first edition of Zebulon Pike’s account of his expeditions across the Mississippi and into Louisiana Territory and the border country of New Spain is offered with the landmark maps in the rare separate atlas. Pike’s was the first United States government expedition to the Southwest, and his report was one of the most important of all American travel narratives (Estimate: $8,000-$12,000).

A pictorial letter sheet with a lithographed view of Mission Dolores in San Francisco is the only letter sheet devoted to a California mission making it quite rare (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000). Also from California, is a sheet of three unused stock certificates in the Bodie Bluff Consolidation Mining Co., each signed in ink by Leland Stanford as President of the company. Individual certificates of stock in Stanford’s short-lived company are rare, to have three together on a single sheet, all three signed by Stanford, is exceedingly so (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

Sioux Indian Painting

Other highlights of the auction include: Thomas & William Daniell’s Oriental Scenery, the quarto edition, six volumes in three, 1812-1816, with 150 aquatint plates capturing the architecture, antiquities, and scenery of India (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000); Nathaniel Portlock’s Voyage Round the World, and to the northwest coast of America, searching for fur, and political influence against Spanish and Russian rivals. The first edition, 1789 (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000); Six photographs of the 1900 fire that destroyed Honolulu’s Chinatown, started by efforts to burn down buildings where the presence of bubonic plague was suspected (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500); and Sioux Indian Painting, 1938, two large portfolios with collotype plates reproducing ledger book drawings and pictographs by Amos Bad Heart Buffalo and other artists, published by C. Szwedzicki in Nice, France, limited to 400 sets (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients and is open by appointment only. PBA limits live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales, to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected].