By: Sebastian Munster
Date: 1552 (Published) Basel
Dimensions: 11.5 x 14.5 inches (29.2 x 36.8 cm)
The earliest known published map to depict all of Asia.
The outline of the Asian mainland is relatively well established. India appears as a peninsula and Sri Lanka, called Zalon, is correctly located. Cambay, Goa and Cannonore are all shown, reflecting the Portuguese presence on India's west coast. Malacca is correctly located on the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra has inherited the name Taprobana from Sri Lanka, but also bears the name Sumatra. Java appears as two islands, Java Maior and Java Minor.
The famed Spice Islands of Moluccas are located, but oddly shaped. The coastline of China is fairly accurate but Korea and Japan are absent. Northern Asia, named India Superior, extends off the map, reflecting the belief that the northern reaches of the New World were connected to Asia. An archipelago of 7448 islands lies off the eastern coastline. The Indian Ocean is filled with a huge sea monster and a fantastic two-tailed mermaid.
While Munster borrowed heavily from Ptolemy’s work, he also incorporated reports and findings of the latest expeditions and exploratory voyages, especially those of the Portuguese. Therefore, at the time it was published the map offered the most reliable information concerning Asia which was known to Western cartographers.
Sebastian Munster was one of Europe’s foremost mapmakers of the 16th century. Ordained as a priest in 1512, he taught Hebrew at a number of universities, but then began to study maps and in 1525 published his first known map, a map of Germany. He wrote treatises on various topics and continued to publish maps till his death in 1552.
Condition: This map is in B+ condition. The lower margin has been cut short. Centerfold separations have been repaired with archival material on the verso.
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