Printed from Catalogue on Wednesday, Oct 27 2021

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1611 - Untitled

Map makerSizeMap IDCondition
Johann Bongars 320 x 320 mmD15 / M135 / I55Good condition. Please contact us for a full condition report

Medieval world map based on Portolano sources, with Jerusalem at the centre and east at the top.

The map is one of the very few printed medieval world maps to be based on Portolano sources. Portolan maps were essentially manuscript sea charts made from the 13th to 16th centuries and usually charted areas of the Mediterranean Sea . According to Shirley, the authorship of the original manuscript map on which this one is based, is not certain. It could be the set of early fourteenth century maps attributed to Marino Sanudo, or it may be that the prototype map was in fact by Pietro Vesconte. The world is shown in typical medieval style with three main continents (Europe, Asia and Africa ) with connecting waterways.

Jerusalem is shown to be at the centre of the world and east is oriented to the top, while an ocean surrounds the whole known earth. The source of the Nile is shown and the Mediterranean is well defined. The map is criss-crossed by a series of rhumb lines used as navigational aides on Portolan charts.

Bongar's map is essentially a more complicated form of the medieval 'T-O' maps (see Lilius entry cat.4), where the Mediterranean forms the axis of the 'T' and the 'O' forms the known limits to the earth. Originally merely diagrammatic, the T-O map developed through travel and Christian Orthodoxy into this more complicated form .

This information is adopted from the Printed World catalogue series, one of the most enjoyable and informative Australian Antique map catalogues available, created and compiled by Simon Dewez.

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