Halloween in Spring

A warm welcome aboard. Hold tight as we plunge Into the Silentworld – a maritime-themed podcast centred on Australia and our neighbours in the Pacific, exploring our relationship with the sea through various topics.

We begin with a Halloween themed season focusing on the supernatural elements associated with the waters through time. This episode begins with a look at this time of year in southern hemisphere terms before plunging in to begin our exploration of the surreal with painted monsters on maps in our own museum collection and their meaning through time.



Far East map

Referred to as “Far East map” in the episode – Exacta & Accurata Delineatio cum Orarum Maritimarum tum etiam Locorum Terrestrium quae in Regionibus China, Cauchinchina, Camboja sive Champa, Syao, Malacca, Arracan & Pegu …

Map of the Far East, 1596 by Jan Huygen van Linschoten. Silentworld Foundation collection.

Map of the Far East, 1596 by Jan Huygen van Linschoten. Silentworld Foundation collection. 

View online collection

Cartographer: Jan Huygen van Linschoten

Engaver: Arnold van Langren

Publisher: Linschoten

Place issued: Amsterdam

Date: 1596

Medium: Paper, ink. Hand-coloured copper engraving

Size: 380mmx540mm

About this object

The first accurate map of the Far East. A rare map from Jan Huyghen van Linschoten’s legendary ltinerario. “Jan Huygen van Linschoten was for five years in the service of the archbishop of Goa whom he accompanied on his journeys in the region of the Indian Ocean. ( … ) On the map reproduced here the Far East and the Malay Archipelago are shown in such detail as was known only to the Portuguese at that time and had never before been shown on a printed map. The cartographical work of Bartolomeu Lasso served as a model for these charts. Only a tiny portion of the south-land can be seen: ‘Beach’ the auriferous province.”

This map of Southeast Asia and the adjacent coast of China shows Korea as an island and a geographically misunderstood representation of Japan. The map is illustrated with sea monsters, sailing ships, and Mannerist-style strapwork cartouches embellished with grotesque masks. An interesting menagerie of fauna in mainland China includes a giraffe-like animal. This important and influential map was published partly to interest merchants to follow the Portuguese sea routes to the “spice islands.” Although the map is unusually oriented so that east appears at the top of the page, this would be its logical position in the hands of a ship’s captain finding his bearings from a westward approach.

Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula map

Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula. Silentworld Foundation collection SF000821.
Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula. Silentworld Foundation collection SF000821.
View online collection

About this object

Matthaus Merian, was a publisher and engraver renowned for his town views. This world map from his Neuwe Archontologia Cosmica is presented on Mercator’s projection and is closely copied from Blaeu’s world map of 1606. Germanic script for the text is used and the Latin title is repeated in Gothic script below.

The seas are decorated with ships, compass roses and galleons. The lower corners have insets of the north and south poles.

Noted at the top of the map is the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus’s in 1492 and Terra Australis Incognito is shown as extending along the entire lower area of the map. The naming of Beach the northern tip of Terra Incognito, can be traced back to Fine’s 1532 world map which was based on information of Marco Polo’s incorrectly scribed accounts.

Maker: Matthaus Merian – Engraver

Date: Made c1646

Period: 17th century

Place Made: Frankfurt

Medium and Materials: Paper, ink. Hand-coloured copper engraving.

Measurements: 245mm × 350mm

Object number: SF000821

General information

Sea monsters on maps