1598 Africae Tabula Nova
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By: Abraham Ortelius
Date: 1570 / 1598 (published) Antwerp
Dimensions: 14.5 x 18 inches (36.83 x 45.72 cm)
This is exceptional map of Africa was published by Abraham Ortellius in 1598, originally printed in 1570 in the first edition of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas, which was widely produced for over 40 years in 7 different languages.
Ortelius’ map of Africa is based upon Gastaldi's 8 sheet wall map and Mercator's world map of 1569. Two notable geographic changes Ortelius made to the shape of Africa are a more pointed Cape of Good Hope and an eastern coastline that extends far less than many earlier maps of Africa show. Ortelius was also the first to include sources to the information displayed in his map. Also, while many map makers tend to fill the African continent with vignettes of animals, often in an attempt to mask their geographical ignorance of the area, Ortelius leaves the African continent completely void any such distraction.
This map however is not completely absent of decoration. A sea battle is depicted in cartouche in the lower right hand corner of the map, and a number of sea monsters roam the vast Atlantic Ocean shown off the western coast of Africa. The title cartouche is classical in design, with two armless statues of women and 4 lions’ heads incorporated in the supporters, and is completed with decorative scrollwork.
This example of Africae Tabula Nova comes out of the French edition of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. The examples published in the late 16th century are identifiable by a vertical crack that developed in the title cartouche area of the copper plate.
Ref: Norwich, No. 10
Condition: This map is in A condition with a small centerfold separation that has been closed using archival materials on the verso. The map exhibits old color with some latter touch-ups as well as some discoloration surrounding the map from prior matting.
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