Covens and Mortier. L' Asie suivant les nouvelles observations de Messrs de l'Academie Royale des Sciences, etc... Augmentées de Nouveau. Jigsaw Puzzle. Map of Asia
Amsterdam, Covens & Mortier ca., 1750.Fine engraved map of Asia in a contemporary handcolouring. 30 x 22,5cm. A dissected map issued by Covens and Mortier made into a jigsaw puzzle. ( 32 pieces) Mounted on 2 mm. oak with French shell marbled paper on verso. In a contemporary French shell marbled box, complete. In very fine condition with a small label on the top of the box with in handwriting "Asia"
The map has been published in the following atlas by Covens and Mortier." Nouvel Atlas très-exact et fort commode pour toutes sortes de personnes...Amsterdam ca. 1750 (Koeman : Covens and Mortier no. 13) Dutch 18th century jigsaw puzzles are in fact a kind of scientific instruments and invented to facilitate teaching geography. They were all published by Covens and Mortier in Amsterdam and all are maps. Our copy is one of the earliest jigsaw puzzles published in the Netherlands as only the borders of the jigsaw is interlocking and not the center parts. So the countries are dissected separately within their regional borders. Not in the Opie collection, see p.152 (on the invention of the jigsaw by John Spilsbury ) :" By mounting his maps on thin mahogany board, and cutting them into pieces roud the borders of the kingdoms or counties, he invented , in the early 1760s, dissected maps, to facilitate the teaching of geography" Our map is pre 1760 ( ca.1750 Cartographic dept. Univ. Library of Amsterdam), so it is possible that the jigsaw we offer is one of the first jigsaw's made in the world. See at length :" Bekkering. Stukje voor Stukje. Geschiedenis van de legpuzzel in Nederland. " Bekkering. Landkaarten in stukjes om kinderen al speelende de aardrijkskunde te leeren." Caert-Thresoor 203 no 2. 47 ef. Bekkering traced only 10 Dutch 18th century jigsaws in Dutch musea or private collections. All 10 aren't in a marbled box, but in an oaken chest. There is only one other copy know of this Asia jigsaw ( An incomplete copy in the Bekkering collection. See the picture in Geert Bekkering "Spass und Geduld Zur Geschichte des Puzzlespiels in Deutschland p. 9) In fact our jigsaw belongs to the earliest jigsaws known in the world. There is no need to argue that this early jigsaw puzzle - complete and with the box and all the pieces - is extremely rare, especially in this almost mint condition. This item is not only of interest for collectors of paper toys etc., but also for carthographic departments of musea, university libraries and private map collectors. This is the only complete copy known of what is perhaps the first jigsaw puzzle of Asia.
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