Catalog Archive
Auction 178, Lot 461

"Tabula Asiae III", Munster, Sebastian

Subject: Caucasus

Period: 1542 (published)

Publication: Geographia Universalis…

Color: Hand Color

13.3 x 9.9 inches
33.8 x 25.1 cm
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Sebastian Munster (1489 - 1552) was one of the three most renowned cartographers of the sixteenth century, along with Mercator and Ortelius. Munster's Geographia and Cosmographia Universalis were two of the most widely read and influential books of the period. His editions of Ptolemy's Geographia, published between 1540 and 1552, were illustrated with 48 woodcut maps, the standard 27 Ptolemaic maps supplemented by 21 new maps. These new maps included a separate map of each of the known continents and marked the development of regional cartography in Central Europe. The antique geography was a prelude to Munster's major work, the Cosmographia, which was published in nearly 30 editions in six languages between 1544 and 1578 and then was revised and reissued by Sebastian Petri from 1588 to 1628. The Cosmographia was a geographical as well as historical and ethnographic description of the world. It contained the maps from the Geographia plus additional regional maps and city views with nearly 500 illustrations which made it one of the most popular pictorial encyclopedias of the sixteen century.

This woodblock, Ptolemaic map covers the region between the Black and Caspian Seas. The map is divided into three regions: Colchidis, Albania and Armenia. A large gate (Portae Albaniae) is shown in the mountains at the top of the map. This reflects the legend of Alexander the Great, who is said to have discovered the evil hordes of Gog and Magog in this region. Alexander, calling upon the power of God, moved the mountains together and built a mighty wall spanning the entire Caucasus range, closing off the civilized south from the forces of darkness. Noah's Ark is shown in the Caspian Sea. Woodblock illustration with the title Tertia Asiae on verso.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #212-19.

Condition: A

There is minor toning along centerfold and a couple small holes in the blank margins that have been archivally repaired.

Estimate: $350 - $425

Sold for: $225

Closed on 6/10/2020