FIFTEENTH CENTURY WOODCUT WORLD MAP
[untitled world map ‘Seconda etas mundi’]
Latin edition. 15” x 20 1/4”. Sewing holes at centerfold repaired as usual. Excellent condition.
Appearing in the famous Nuremberg Chronicle, this woodcut map by Hartmann Schedel is both an aesthetic and historic document of great significance. Published just 40 years after the invention of printing, the Schedel presents the world just prior to Columbus’s voyage and the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope. As such, it is one of the great bridges in cartographic history, displaying the intersection of the theologic and legend-based Medieval world view with the emerging scientific orientation of the Renaissance.
Shirley calls the Nuremberg Chronicle “one of the most remarkable books of its time. The text is an amalgam of legend, fancy, and tradition interspersed with the occasional scientific fact or authentic piece of modern learning.” The general shape of the map shows the influence of the most important geographical work of antiquity, Ptolemy’s Geographia, which had been forgotten during the Middle Ages. Many medieval notions are nevertheless incorporated and the Indian Ocean is shown in its land-locked, pre-discovery state.
“The border contains twelve dour windheads while the map is supported in three of its corners by the solemn figures of Ham, Shem and Japhet taken from the Old Testament. What gives the map its present-day interest and attraction are the panels representing the outlandish creatures and beings that were thought to inhabit the furthermost parts of the earth. There are seven such scenes to the left of the map and a further fourteen on its reverse” -- Shirley. Some of these bizarre individuals were thought to be inhabit the so-called kingdoms of Gog and Magog in northern Asia.
Shirley, The Mapping of The World, #19, plate 25; The World Encompassed, #44, plate XII; Moreland & Bannister, Antique Maps, #6.
Inventory No. 8180