By: Henri Abraham Chatelain
Date: 1710 (Published) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 8 x 13.75 inches (20.3 cm x 35 cm)
This group of six portfolio pages from Chatelain's Atlas Historique starts with an intriguing authentic antique map of Lapland, illustrating the territory of an ancient and legendary people, the Laplanders. Sources indicate that these indigenous inhabitants of some of the most inhospitable and cold regions of Europe have been there for at least six thousand years, that they settled there at a time when the climate was very different from that of recent times (recorded history).
The first page, entitled Carte de la Laponie Suedoise, Chatelain with his usual enthusiasm and eye for detail, provides us an enigmatic yet intimate look into the lives and customs of these ancient peoples. The map shows a portion of Lapland territory which, in its entirety, covers a vast region located north of the Arctic Circle stretching across areas of Finland, Sweden, Norway and even parts of Russia.
The map shows the Gulf of Bothnia, which is the northernmost portion of the Baltic Sea, and is situated between Sweden's east coast and Finland's west. Chatelain depicts and labels many rivers and lakes of the region. He also names various clans and tribes of Laplanders who inhabit the area.
Below the map are three illustrations of life in the early 18th century in this part of the world. The first shows the method in which infants were suspended from a ceiling beam in a remarkable cradle. The second shows a man and woman with an infant in the same sort of cradle, but secured to the back of a reindeer which they are leading by a strap around its neck. The third shows a group of Laplanders enjoying sports and athletic activities. This map and its illustrations are like photographs, windows on a world that used to be.
The second page is entitled Figures qui Representent les Faux Cultes des Lapon and features more religious customs and objects of the Laplanders. The first two illustrations depict natives on their hands and knees approaching religious altars of sorts, with reindeer antlers obviously venerated as part of their religious practices. One is a wooden altar, the other a completely natural place on a promontory overlooking meadows and mountains. Both are festooned with reindeer antlers, and it is obvious they are objects of worship, or in some way symbolic of their religious beliefs.
The third page featuring Laplanders is called Representations de Domestique et du Men age des Lapons. It features three engravings depicting their everyday life. The first image shows the manner in which food was prepared in a tepee of sorts with a large kettle suspended over the fire. Next to it is a wooden cabin built atop the remaining part of the trunk of what once was a rather tall tree. The lake in the background is graced by one canoe being rowed away from the shore.
The second illustration features two devices which are used for securing loads to the backs of the reindeer, with a tethered reindeer who is loaded as if ready for a trip. The third illustration pictures two men and two women, one of whom is holding in her arms an infant in the same type of aforementioned cradle, and a second woman with a cradle on her back.
The fourth page is labeled De Leurs Arts Mechaniques et de Leurs Foires. A variety of objects from everyday life are depicted here, including footwear, baskets and other containers, and fashion accessories. Two additional engravings on this page feature everyday activities, and a picturesque fair with people driving their reindeer with sledges on steep terrain in the background.
The fifth page bears the heading De Leurs Mariages de Leurs Jeux et de Leurs Divertissemens and features four engravings. The first shows a group seated in a circle for a social event of some kind. The second depicts the manner in which they marry. The third engraving shows a group of men and women playing with a ball and stick, and the fourth depicts two sledges with drivers drawn by reindeer ascending a steep hillside.
The sixth page is labeled Maniere d’aler a la Chasse et des Differens Animzux de Laponie. The first four engravings feature hunters on skis, an assortment of hunting equipment including bows, arrows and quivers, and the final illustration is of three species of birds indigenous to the region.
Condition: These six portfolio pages are all fine dark images in A condition with light toning of some borders and some very minor foxing and soiling in the border of one page and a slight damp stain one image.
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