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The Blaeu celestial globe

Date: 1602
Overall: H 334 x Dia 230 mm globe, 1.95 kg
Medium: Plaster, wooden stand, brass meridian
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Maps, charts and plans
Object Name: Globe
Object No: 00005756
Place Manufactured:Nederland

User Terms

    This 23.5 cm globe represents the first full publication of the Southern Hemisphere's constellations, including the Southern Cross. The globe features coloured illustrations and is mounted on its original wooden stand with a brass meridian. Willem Blaeu is renowned for the quality of his charts and cartography which represent some of the most accurate work of the 17th century. This globe was based on observations made by Frederik de Houtman, a Dutch East India Company skipper who sailed on the earliest Dutch voyage to Asia.
    SignificanceThis extremely rare celestial globe is one of six known examples in the world. It offers the first complete depiction of the constellations in the Southern Hemisphere and documents the effect of European imperial expansion on mapmaking in the 17th century. Its fine craftsmanship highlights the skill of its maker Blaeu.

    HistoryThe construction of the Blaeu globe coincided with the growth of the Dutch East India Company or Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC). During the 1600s the VOC was a rapidly expanding merchant organisation that established trade networks throughout Asia, by transporting rare spices and exotic textiles. The Dutch organisation greatly contributed to the discovery and mapping of the Australian coastline and Pacific Ocean. Frederik de Houtman made his observations of the constellations in the Southern Hemisphere while on board two voyages with VOC ships. His recordings would later be used by mapmakers such as Blaeu.

    Willem Blaeu began conducting research for the globe while studying with the astronomer Tycho Brahe in Denmark in 1595. In 1596 using a catalogue of stars compiled by Tycho, Blaeu constructed a celestial and terrestial globe, a set to represent the earth's sky and earth. His globe used figures such as birds and horses to illustrate the position of constellations in the sky. Making the globe was a time-consuming process and mapmakers were often in competition to be the first one to issue the newest and most up to date version. When Blaeu released his first celestial globe in 1596 it was the most accurate representation for its time. However the work was quickly surpassed by a globe made by Hondius in 1600. Blaeu's second attempt in 1602 saw the inclusion of additional constellations in the southern sky, such as the Southern Cross.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Dutch celestial globe depicting the first full publication of the stars seen from the southern hemisphere with coloured illustrations, original brass meridian and mounted in original wooden stand.

    Web title: The Blaeu celestial globe

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