Catalog Archive
Auction 153, Lot 57

Fascinating Cross-Section of the Earth

"Systema Ideale Quo Exprimitur, Aquarum per Canales Hydragogos Subterraneos ex Mari et in Montium Hydrophylacia Protrusio, Aquarumq. Subterrestrium per Pyragogos Canales Concoctus", Kircher, Athanasius

Subject: Cartographic Miscellany, Earth

Period: 1682 (circa)

Publication: D'Onder-Aardse Weereld

Color: Black & White

16.3 x 13.1 inches
41.4 x 33.3 cm

The Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher was one of the first compilers of semi-scientific knowledge about the physical features of the world. This unusual copper engraving shows a cross-section of the earth's interior with its magma core and underground water sources. The surface of the earth is shown with mountain ranges, erupting volcanoes, and ships sailing in the oceans. Clouds and four wind-heads surround the sphere. A decorative title cartouche held aloft by putti completes the fanciful composition. This is from a Dutch edition of Kircher's masterpiece, an immense and amazing work covering all aspects of anything that dwelled or occurred within the earth's interior - from dragons, to fossils, to mountain springs, earthquakes, and volcanoes.


Condition: B

A dark impression on a sheet with a couple creases. The sheet has a large portion of the lower block of text missing, with paper added to fill it in. An archivally repaired centerfold separation enters 1" into image at bottom. The map could easily be framed to cover the missing text and would still present well.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,300


Closed on 5/20/2015