"[Europa Regina]", Munster, Sebastian
Period: 1588 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
6.5 x 10 inches
16.5 x 25.4 cm
This is one of the most famous of cartographic oddities, showing Europe in the shape of a woman. The representation of Europa Regina or Queen of the World was first drawn by Jonannes Bucius in 1537. This simplified version appeared in several editions of Munster's Cosmography from 1580 onwards. West is shown at top with Spain forming the crown and head, France and Germany the neck and bust, Bohemia the heart, Italy the left arm holding an orb (Sicily) and Denmark the right arm holding a scepter with Britain as the flag. The remainder of the figure is a flowing robe with Greece and Russia at the feet. It has been argued that instead of a woman, the map represents Charles V of Spain, modeling a Europe that had Spain as its crown, or that it symbolizes a Habsburg-dominated Europe. Whatever the source, this is an extraordinary example of the art of mapmaking. German text on verso.
References: Tooley (MCC-1) #6, Plt. V; Manasek #3.21.
Light show-through of text on verso and marginal soiling.