Auction 135, Lot 618

"[Tabula Octava Asiae Continet Scythiam extra Imaum montem, & Sericam]", Ptolemy/Fries

Subject: Central Asia

Period: 1540 (published)

Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae

Color: Hand Color

Size:
15.5 x 12 inches
39.4 x 30.5 cm

Claudius Ptolemy was a mathematician, astronomer and geographer who worked in Alexandria, then a part of the Roman Empire, in the 2nd century AD. One of the most learned and influential men of his time, his theories dominated both astronomy and geography for nearly 1500 years. His writings were kept alive by Arabic scholars during the Middle Ages and reemerged in Europe during the Renaissance. The birth of printing led to wide dissemination of his great works on astronomy and geography. There were a number of editions of his Geographia beginning in 1477. These early editions contained maps based on his original writings, known as Ptolemaic maps. As geographic knowledge increased with the explorations of Columbus, Magellan, Cabot and others, maps of the New World were added, and maps of the Old World were revised. Ptolemy's Geographia continued to be revised and published by some of the most important cartographers including Martin Waldseemuller, Sebastian Munster, Giacomo Gastaldi, Jodocus Hondius, and Gerard Mercator (whose last edition was published in 1730).

Woodblock map illustrating the Ptolemaic concept of the central Asian steppe, ancient Schytia Extra Imaum, in a trapezoidal projection. The kingdom of Serica is shown, which is thought to represent "land where silk comes from." The map is reduced from Martin Waldseemuller's map. Title is on verso.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara, (Nordenskiold) #211-22.

Condition: A+

Stunning example with professionally infilled worm holes in lower margin. Dark, early impression on a large sheet of thick paper with wide margins.

Estimate: $220 - $275

Sold for: $200

Closed on 2/16/2011

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