Antique Map Auction Sale No. 133 - closed 9/1/2010
This is one of the more fanciful cartographic curiosities and a unique view of Renaissance attitudes toward the unknown lands beyond the civilized world. This woodblock illustration presents a compendium of monsters thought to exist in the sixteenth century, and used by many subsequent mapmakers to illustrate the creatures thought to inhabit the seas and land of the unexplored world. Across the top is a panel showing land-based creatures, including reindeer, elk (here shown pulling a sleigh), snakes and a gluttonous bear. The majority of the 'monsters' are ferocious sea creatures shown devouring hapless sailors and wrecking ships. There is a massive lobster shown with a person in its huge claws, and a huge, fanged whale erupting fountains of water from its head, as well as a tree that appears to bear ducks as fruit. French text on verso.