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One of Homann's most interesting and influential maps, this 1725 map depicts the Caspian Sea and the Peninsula of Kamchatka. Essentially two maps in one, Homann here juxtaposes two opposite parts of Asia: the Caspian Sea, which forms part the western border of Asia and Europe, and the Peninsula of Kamchatka, the easternmost known point in continental Asia. While this combination may seem odd to us today, to the 18th century European, reared on the works of Marco Polo and steeped in the legends of wealth associated with the orient, it represented the legendary Silk Route across Asia as well as the eastern and western most claims of the expanding Russian Empire. During this period, both the Caspian Sea and Kamchatka were actively being explored by European powers eager to exploit the riches of Asia. The left hand map, focusing on the Caspian Sea, marks a significant step forward in the mapping of this region, reflecting the 1719 - 1721 survey work of the Russian navy officer Karl van Verden. Verden's work, completed shortly before this map's publication was the most advanced mapping of the Caspian sea to date, offering a new perspective on the region and opening the navigational possibility of the world's largest lake. The right hand map depicts Kamchatka. Though only tentatively explored at this point, Russian forces under Vladimir Alassov took control of the peninsula in 1697. The globe itself is set to Asia with both the Caspian Sea and Kamchatka set recognizably in context. One of the most interesting elements of this cartouche is the small map of Japan being held by a child in the lower right. Though tiny and a seeming minor element, this little map is actually the first of a serious of important representations of Japan in which the Noto Peninsula is turned westward. This cartographic convention did not begin to appear in actual maps until Bellin's 1736 mapping of Japan.
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