Catalog Archive
Auction 118, Lot 72

"[Monsters] Meerwunder und Seltzame Thier wie die in den Mitnachtigen Landern im Meer und auff dem Landtgefunden Werden", Munster, Sebastian

Subject: Cartographic Miscellany

Period: 1550 (circa)

Publication: Cosmographia

Color: Hand Color

13.5 x 10 inches
34.3 x 25.4 cm

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 later 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. Included is an English translation of the lettered key to the types of animals shown from Cumming, Skelton and Quinn's Discovery of North America. German text on verso with several small woodcut illustrations of the Arctic.

References: Cumming, Skelton, Quinn, pp. 44-45.

Condition: A

Nice impression with attractive, later color. Light, marginal stains. Archival tape on centerfold verso.

Estimate: $800 - $1,000

Sold for: $1,600

Closed on 3/6/2007