"[Monsters] Meerwunder und Seltzame Thier / wie die in den Mitnachtigen Landern / im Meer und auff dem Landt Gefunden Werden", Munster, Sebastian
Subject: Cartographic Miscellany
Period: 1550 (circa)
Publication: Cosmographey das ist Beschreibung
Color: Black & White
14 x 10 inches
35.6 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 that were 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 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. German text on verso.
References: Manasek, p. 118.
A few light spots and some separations along centerfold that have been professionally repaired with old paper on verso. There are a few printer's creases and a 1/2" tear adjacent to centerfold at top of image that is partially closed on verso with old paper.