Early decorative English map of the East Indies showing Southeast Asia, China Taiwan and India drawn by John Speed and engraved by Francis Lamb. Decorative cartouche top centre.
The map shows the long held European assumption of the time that all rivers in Asia had a common source. Here, it is the Chiamay Lacus, which gives rise to four rivers that flow south into Indochina. Other geographers had the lake doing even more fluvial work; Blaeu had Lake Chiamay, near Tartary, as the start of six rivers. A major catalyst for this particular cartographic configuration was Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit cartographer as he included the Lake on his maps, most probably picked up from other European maps and the readings of Bon Po and other Buddhist doctrines.
This map was part of a small group of NEW maps added by Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell to the 1676 edition of John Speed’s famous atlas A Prospect of the Most Famous Pars of the World, the first world atlas published by an Englishman.