Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 340

One of the Earliest Obtainable Maps of Brazil

"Brasil", Ramusio, Giovanni Battista

Subject: Brazil

Period: 1606 (circa)

Publication: Delle Navigationi et Viaggi Raccolta...

Color: Hand Color

14.3 x 10.6 inches
36.3 x 26.9 cm
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This fascinating pictorial map is one of the earliest obtainable regional maps of Brazil. Illustrated with north to the right, the map is filled with vignettes representing native life, rather than focusing on geographical information. Native Indians are shown with bows and arrows, axes, llamas, and hammocks, for which Brazilians are well known. The surrounding ocean is teeming with French and Portuguese ships and sea monsters. Along the coast, Europeans are depicted interacting with natives. The limited geographical information presented is quite inaccurate. The Amazon River (here called Maranon F.) and the Parana River originate from lakes on the side of an erupting volcano. Spurious mountains and rivers fill the western portion of Brazil, labeled Terra non Discoperta (undiscovered land).

This woodblock map is from the second block, cut in 1565 after the original was destroyed by a fire at the printing house of Thomaso Guinti in 1557. On the second block, Descoperta is written at top center instead of Discoperta. The second block was used again in 1606, distinguishable from the earlier printing by the appearance of woodworm damage to the printing block. The small blank areas along the border and in the seas suggest that this example comes from the worm-bitten block. Many of the blocks for the 1554 edition of Ramusio's Delle Navigationi Et Viaggi were produced by the great Venetian cartographer Giacomo Gastaldi.

References: cf. Shirley (BL Atlases) G.RAMU-2a #6.

Condition: A+

Some very minor creasing.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,300

Sold for: $750

Closed on 9/11/2019