A great example of the first map of the
whole continent of Africa published in the 1560 edition
of Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia.
This woodblock map is instantly recognisable, first
published in 1540, by its illustrations of the 'Monoculi'
(a one-eyed man), an impressive sailing ship, and a
large elephant in southern Africa.
In The Mapping Of Africa Richard Betz identifies
15 variant states of this map. With German text and the
image of a Phoenix rising from the sun to the verso,
this example most closely resembles Betz's variant 15.
However, our example has only "IOPIA" present in the
word Aethiopia in the centre of the continent, not
corresponding to any listed in Betz, and appears
therefore to be a previously unrecorded variant of this
early and important map.
Sales data: There have been 9 recorded sales of
this map since 1985 cumulating in a top price of $1897US
achieved in 2010 for this scarce edition. (Ref AMPR)
Background Munster: Sebastian
Munster's Geographia (first published in 1540)
and his later Cosmographia (first
published in 1544) were cartographic
landmarks. The Geographia included not only
Ptolemaic maps, but also a number of landmark modern
maps, including the first separate maps of the 4
continents, the first map of England and the earliest
obtainable map of Scandinavia. .
was the earliest German
description of the world and a major work in the revival
of geographic thought in 16th-century Europe.
Altogether, about 40 editions of the Cosmographia
appeared between 1544 and 1628.
Munster dominated cartographic publication during the
mid-16th Century and is generally regarded as one
of the important map makers of the 16th
a scholar studying Hebrew, Greek and mathematics,
Munster (1489-1552) eventually specialised in
mathematical geography and cartography. He is best known
for his edition of the Geographia, a translation
of Ptolemy's landmark geographical text. Munster's
version is illustrated with maps based on Ptolemy's
calculations, but also, in recognition of the increased
geographical awareness of the period, contains a section
of modern maps including the first set of maps of each
continent. In the first edition of the Geographia,
Munster included twenty-seven ancient Ptolemaic maps and
twenty-one modern maps, printed from woodblocks.
Subsequent editions of the Cosmographia much
expanded his Geographia and contained a vast
number of maps and plans
separately printed map of Africa (as with the other
known continents) appeared in Munster's Geographia
from 1540 onwards and the first atlas devoted to
Africa only was published in 1588 in Venice by Livio
Sanuto, but the finest individual map of the century was
that engraved on 8 sheets by Gastaldi, published in
Venice in 1564. Apart from maps in sixteenth-century
atlases generally there were also magnificent marine
maps of 1596 by Jan van Linschoten (engraved by van
Langrens) of the southern half of the continent with
highly imaginative and decorative detail in the
interior. In the next century there were many attractive
maps including those of Mercator/Hondius (1606), Speed
(1627), Blaeu (1 630), Visscher (1636), de Wit (c.
1670), all embellished with vignettes of harbours
and principal towns and bordered with elaborate and
colourful figures of their inhabitants, but the interior
remained uncharted with the exception of that part of
the continent known as Ethiopia, the name which was
applied to a wide area including present-day Abyssinia.
Here the legends of Prester John lingered on and, as so
often happened in other remote parts of the world, the
only certain knowledge of the region was provided by
Jesuit missionaries. Among these was Father Geronimo
Lobo (1595-1678), whose work A Voyage to Abyssinia
was used as the basis for a remarkably accurate map
published by a German scholar, Hiob Ludolf in 1683.
Despite the formidable problems which faced them, the
French cartographers G. Delisle (c. 1700-22), J.
B. B. d'Anville (1727-49) and N. Bellin (1754) greatly
improved the standards of mapping of the continent,
improvements which were usually, although not always,
maintained by Homann, Seutter, de Ia Rochette, Bowen,
Faden and many others in the later years of the century.
Sebastian Petri re-release of Cosomgraphia in 1588 produced some fine woodcut maps in the "copperplate
style". The maps in this release were more
sophisticated than with earlier publications of Cosomgraphia
and were based on the 1570 release of Abraham
Ortelius monumental work Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. (Ref: M&B;Tooley)
Paper thickness and quality: - Light and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: -
Colors used: -
General color appearance: -
Paper size: - 15in x 11 1/2in (385mm x 290mm)
15in x 11 1/2in (385mm x 290mm)
Margins: - 1/2in (12mm)
Margins: - None
Plate area: - 4 small worm holes repaired adjacent to
Verso: - None
If you wish to discuss this or any other item
please email or call...Simon
61 (0) 409 551910 Tel