Auction 134, Lot 665

"Tabula XII - Asiae [Taprobana Ins]", Ptolemy/Fries

Subject: Sri Lanka

Period: 1535 (published)

Publication: Ptolemy's Geographia

Color: Black & White

14 x 11 inches
35.6 x 27.9 cm

This is an early woodblock map of the island of Taprobana, which depicts the typical misconceptions of Ptolemy showing the island greatly enlarged, surrounded by imaginary islands, and with a small part of India incorrectly drawn in the northeast corner of the map. Toprobana was drawn too large on most early maps due, in part, to its importance to trade between the Europe and Southeast Asia. Also Marco Polo stated that the island had a circumference of 2400 miles and had been even larger in the past. This map is largely based on the 1513 map by Walseemuller, with the addition of more of the spurious Indian coastline and more small islands to the east of Ceylon. The title is on the verso along with Latin text and elaborate ornamental border that are thought to be the work of Hans Holbein and Graf of Basel. The editor of this Latin edition, Michael Villanovus (better known as Servetus), was subsequently tried for heresy and burned at the stake in 1553, ostensibly because of derogatory comments in the atlas about the Holy Land.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara (Nordenskiold) #209-46.

Condition: B+

Wide original margins with a toned centerfold and some minor infilling of binding holes.

Estimate: $350 - $450

Sold for: $300

Closed on 12/1/2010