Ferdinand Verbiest's world map makes 20% over estimate in San Francisco

A 1930s Korean reprint of Ferdinand Verbiest's complete map of the world made $18,000 at PBA Galleries in San Francisco on June 5 - up 20% on a $15,000 estimate.

Verbiest (1623-1688) was a Flemish missionary who arrived in China in 1659, intending to spread Catholicism.

His skill in mathematics and astronomy ingratiated him with the Kinagxi emperor and he soon became one of his closest confidantes.

Verbiest world map
Verbiest produced his world map for the Kangxi emperor in 1674. This example was printed in Korea in 1930

He was a talented inventor and produced materials for the Beijing Observatory (of which he was appointed director) alongside cannons, star charts and steam engines.

The full size Kunyu Quantu map was produced in 1674.

This version was printed from blocks used in Seoul in 1860 and is one of only a handful extant - the majority of which reside in museums.

A Buddhist map of the universe sold for $13,200 - an increase of 277.1% on a $3,500 estimate.

The woodblock print consists of 12 sheets joined together with rollers, and displays China at its centre, with India indentified as the birthplace of Buddha.

It was produced by a priest known as a Hotan and published in Kyoto, Japan in the early 18th century.   

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