Brook claims that the person shown in Vermeer’s painting called The Geographer wasn’t particularly interested in the profits that Dutch (VOC) traders were making. What did interest geographers about the travels of traders? Who were the people that the Chinese called Wokou, Dwarf Pirates, Red Hairs, Heigui, and Black Ghosts? Why did Paolo Xu want to learn about such things as ballistics and hydraulics at the same time as learning about Christianity? By the early 1600s geographers had filled in much of the globe, but a few blank spaces remained. Where were those blank spaces? Why was complete information about the globe important?
The book Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World by the Canadian historian and sinologist Timothy Brook.
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