In an era mostly dominated by mass-produced and generic decor, antique maps and prints have stood the test of time. While for centuries published in books and atlases used mainly for science and educational purposes, they now seamlessly blend into a variety of interior design styles, from traditional to contemporary.

A vintage world map can become a stunning focal point in a study or library, while a series of botanical prints can add a touch of elegance to a living room or bedroom. But beyond their aesthetic appeal, these artworks ignite our imagination and curiosity, inspiring conversation and becoming talking points.

Antique maps and prints connect us to the places that are most important to us, our journeys and hometowns, our ancestry, our rich history, and our common heritage. But most of all, they often are beautiful works of art in their own right. Whether you’re a collector, an admirer of art, or seeking to connect with your past, antique maps and prints take you on a captivating journey through time. Let’s embark and explore antique maps and prints with Sake Santema from Indies Gallery, showcasing three antique pieces from his collection. 

Natural history prints bridge the gap between science and beauty and are a testament to the fascination humans have for the animal kingdom. Immortalised in this print by naturalist Rene Lesson is the famous Red Bird of Paradise, published in 1835 in Paris, France in “Histoire Naturelle Des Oiseaux De Paradis” (Natural History of Birds of Paradise), the first and most comprehensive work on birds of paradise.

Lesson went on a round-the-world voyage in the year 1822 during which he collected natural history specimens. During his visits to the Moluccas and New Guinea, Lesson became the first European naturalist to see birds of paradise in the wild. 

Antique maps are often detailed works of art, and they become tangible reminders of our journeys, hometowns, and ancestral roots. Shown here is a map of the Indochinese Peninsula, published in the year 1687 in Paris, France. Renowned as one of the Holy Grails for Sumatra and Singapore-related map collecting, this map is truly a treasure trove of historical notations. The cartographic detail on the map was groundbreaking, and by far the most accurate made at the time, and would remain so for over a century thereafter.

A majestic elephant forming the title cartouche has made this map a firm favourite amongst collectors. The map was a product of the collaboration between Jean-Baptiste Nolin (1657-1708), who was one of the official mapmakers to the French King Louis XIV, and Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1715), a Venetian master who had been invited to Paris by the King to undertake cartographic projects. 

Indonesia is renowned for its abundant mountains and volcanoes and became a popular subject in 19th-century European publications on the Far East. One notable series on Indonesian landscapes is that by Abraham Salm, a Dutch self-taught artist, who came to Indonesia in 1843, settled in Surabaya as a merchant, and later owned a tobacco plantation in Malang, Java. The plantation was so successful that he left the running of it to his two oldest sons and spent most of his time painting landscapes. The image shown is the Semeru volcano, Java’s highest mountain, and comes from a set of 24 lithographs published in the year 1872 in the Netherlands after his paintings. 

The antique maps and prints shown in this article are offered for purchase by Indies Gallery, a dealer in authentic maps, prints, books and photographs, dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century.

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Indies Gallery also offers these decorative art works as reprints. You will find these at

Sake Santema

Sake Santema

Based in Singapore, Sake Santema from Indies Gallery is dealing in antiques, with a focus on old maps, prints, books and photographs, dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. Whether you're an experienced collector or a first-time buyer, Indies Gallery offers an extensive collection in all price ranges. Visit for more information.