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Map, World, Secunda etas mundi, Hartmann Schedel, Antique Woodblock Print, Nuremberg, 1493

Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514) (editor)
Secunda etas mundi
[World Map]
Anton Koberger, Nuremberg: 12 July 1493
Woodblock print
12.25 x 17.25 inches, map image
17.5 x 23.25 inches, overall
Price on Request

A famous world map from Heinrich Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle printed from a strongly cut woodblock. It shows a typical Ptolemaic trapezoidal projection of the world as known in Roman times — mainland Europe is shown with the Mediterranean countries, northern Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia. The Indian Ocean, typically for the period, is shown landlocked with the east African coast extending along the lower border of the map to link with southeastern Asia. The map’s distinctive design incorporates the figures of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet, each shown holding up a corner of the map, 12 windheads, and a column of seven illustrations of strange creatures that were thought to inhabit far-flung parts of the world. These include a six-armed man, a centaur, a four-eyed man supposedly from a coastal tribe in Ethiopia, and others, some of which came from accounts of ancient historians such as Herodotus and Pliny, and others that probably came from popular legends. There are fourteen additional illustrations as well as text on the backside of the map.

Product description continues below.

Description

Published in the same year that Columbus’ discoveries in the New World first received publication in Europe, the map appeared in the Nuremberg Chronicle, an eclectic compendium of knowledge, and it is regarded as the last great pre-Columbian concept of the earth. As such, and appearing in one of the most important incunable publications, this is a fascinating and visually dramatic representation of an early Renaissance conception of the world. The offered example is from the first edition, published in Latin. Five months later, a German version was issued.

The Nuremberg Chronicle was a compendium of knowledge described by map historian Rodney Shirley as “an amalgam of legend, fancy, and tradition interspersed with the occasional scientific fact or authentic piece of modern learning.” Hartmann Schedel, a Nuremberg physician, served as editor-in-chief. The work was illustrated with this world map, a map of Northern Europe, views of cities, and repeated decorative woodcuts.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with some remaining overall toning, wear, handling. Vertical centerfold, as issued, with professional restoration to lower two inches of centerfold.

Reference:

Shirley, Rodney W. The Mapping of the World: Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700. London: Holland Press, 1983. 19, plate 25.

Additional information

Century

15th Century