Fifteen maps of Chinese provinces taken from the Novus Atlas Sinensis a Martino Martinus by Johannes Blaeu; 1655

Scope and Content

Original map sheets showing fifteen Chinese provinces. These maps formed part of the Novus atlas Sinensis by Martino Martini, published by Johannes Blaue, Amsterdam, 1655. The cartography is based on a European revision of Ming surveys. The Atlas Sinensis, apart from the technical excellence of its production, is important as being the first European atlas of China. It remained the standard geographical work on that country until the publication in 1737 of D'Anville's Atlas de la Chine.

Administrative / Biographical History

The maps were drawn by the Italian Jesuit cartographer Martino Martini (1614-1661). Martini arrived in China as a missionary in 1642. He travelled extensively in the country visiting, according to his own account, seven of the fifteen provinces included in his work. Departing China for Rome in 1651, his ship was captured by Dutch privateers and taken to Norway. Whilst in Europe Martini arranged for the publication of his work. His Chinese maps were published by Johannes Blaeu as the Novus atlas Sinensis a Martino Martinus in 1655. This atlas formed the sixth book in Theatrum orbis terrarum published by the Blaeu family.


No archival arrangement has been necessary.

Access Information

Surrogates are in preparation in order to reduce risk to glazed originals.

Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the collection. Copyright on the description belongs to The University of Nottingham.


Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult.

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections

Custodial History

The maps were acquired by Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham in 2005.


Geographical Names