Based on the Greek concept of the earth as a flat, circular disc, the map incorporates medieval Christian iconography and conceptions of the cosmos, with the world presided over by Jesus, whose head and feet are pictured at the top and bottom margins, and his hands with stigmata to the left and right. Jerusalem is at the center, shown as a gold, eight-sided medieval wall. Excerpts from an article in the Duke University Library newsletter — upon the rediscovery and restoration of their example of the map — further explains its design:
It represents one class of map referred to in the history of cartography as the “T-O” maps. The T-O structure is clearly visible: the perpendicular stroke of the T running from the Don to the Nile rivers and the horizontal stroke the axis of the Mediterranean. The O represents the boundary of the known world. The T also divides the map into the three then-known continents, Asia (the East) at the top, Europe at the left and Africa on the right.
Paradise is represented in the East (top of the map), complete with figures of Adam, Eve, the serpent, and the symbol for the four great rivers, the Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, and Ganges. Some highly stylized topographical features are easily recognizable: rivers, mountains, and lakes. Towns are shown by towers, a common medieval manuscript symbol, and the medieval forms of place names are used, making this map particularly noteworthy.
The article also notes the geographical distortions common to medieval maps and the presence of exotic animals and mythical races of humans drawn from accounts from antiquity. Yale University also has this print in its collection, along with the original companion 128-page book about the map whose title translated from German is The Ebstorf Map, a world map from the 13th century published and explained by Dr. Konrad Miller. Miller is also credited in the subtitle of this map. He was a German Roman Catholic theologian, natural scientist and cartography historian based in Stuttgart, who also published a respected six-volume scholarly work on Latin maps of the Middle Ages.
Full title and publication information: Monialium Ebstorfensium Mappammundi quae exeunte saeculo XIII. videtur picta. Hannoverae nunc adservatur, edidit Conradus Miller. Jos. Roth’sche Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart. Chromolith Kunstandstalt v. Eckstein & Stahle, Stuttgart. Editio altera 1898. [Map of the world at the end of the 13th century from the convent at Ebstorf. Now preserved in Hanover, published by Konrad Miller. Jos. Roth Publishing Company, Stuttgart. Chromolithograph Kunstandstalt v. Eckstein & Stahle, Stuttgart. 1898 Edition.]
Condition: Generally very good, folds as issued, recently professionally cleaned, deacidified and backed on linen to flatten folds and to repair a few minor openings at folds and intersections. Now with only light remaining toning, wear handling. Due to the strength of the original folds and large size, the map still does not lay entirely flat, but should flatten well when framed.
Eisenbeis, Kathleen. Duke University Library Newsletter. New Series No. 29. October 1982. Durham, North Carolina. pp. 18-20. Online at Archive.org: https://archive.org/stream/dukeuniversityli7186/dukeuniversityli7186_djvu.txt (2 January 2020).
“Konrad Miller.” Wikipedia. 26 November 2018. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Miller (3 January 2020).
“Monialium Ebstorfensium mappa mundi…” Views: Portraying Place and Space, Stanford University Libraries. 22 January 2017. https://exhibits.stanford.edu/views-portraying-place-space/browse/cosmological-views (2 January 2020).
“Monialium Ebstorfensium mappa mundi…” Yale University Library. https://search.library.yale.edu/catalog/13892841 (2 January 2020).