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Civil and Corrupt Asia

Image and Text in the Itinerario and the Icones of Jan Huygen Van Linschoten

Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1562-1611) was a Dutchman who, in 1596, penned the famous Itinerario, an account of his travel to the Indian Peninsula and its eastern surroundings that described the inhabitants of this vast region and quickly became a travel guide for everyone going there. Van Linschoten is held as a key eyewitness of the Portuguese-Asian empire at its height, and as one who worked to shift the center of European expansion from the Iberian peninsula and Italy to the Netherlands and England. In 1604 he published an abridged version, the Icones et Habitus Indorum, which contained 36 of the engravings from the Itinerario together with Latin captions.

Divine and Spoiled Asia reproduces these engravings and their captions (in English), together with an extensive analysis of them by historian Ernst van den Boogaart. In addition to providing unparalleled insights into early modern European views of the East, the engravings also contain valuable depictions of the peoples, customs, and flora and fauna of late sixteenth-century India and neighboring countries.

128 pages | 32 halftones, 1 line drawing, 1 table | 10-1/4 x 9-1/2 | © 2002

Art: European Art

Asian Studies: General Asian Studies

History: European History

Table of Contents

The credibility of the curious traveller
The Icones ’drawn from life’?
The Icones as a depiction of the hierarchy of civility in Asia
The Icones as a series of instructive and edifying images
Some characteristics of this instructive and edifying series
Did Karel van Mander devise the Icones?
Icones Habitus Gestusque Indorum ac Lusitanorum
The plates with a translation of the Latin texts

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