Maps, North and South America, Japan, Sebastian Muenster
"Die neuwen Inseln so hinder Hispanien gegen Orient bey dem land Indie ligen"
Early map of the Americas. Woodcut published in "Cosmographia" by Sebastian Munster (1488-1552).
This woodcut is from a German edition of the "Cosmographia"
printed in Basel, 1553.
"The "New World", still oddly shaped before mapping got more precise. We have to realize, that the discovery of America was just about half a century before this map was carved into a woodblock and published. But that's the charm of very early map making! In the Caribbean Sea some of the islands were already named and placed fairly accurately: Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola. Sciana (now Puerto Rico) carries the pennant of Spain. On the North American (US)-mainland we have only Florida named and shown much larger than the State of Florida comprises in modern times.
For the first time on a map the Pacific Ocean is named as such: Mare pacificum. While South America is definitely recognizable (even the Magellan Strait is mapped), the West Coast of North America is totally undiscovered. An interesting marginal note is the placing and naming of Japan. Japan is shown as one island quite near to North America and iras name is "Zipangri". Name and placement were taken from a globe produced by Johannes Schoener, which is a precious piece of art at the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg.
Original antique print
Condition: Woodcut has typical but new hand coloring. There is general light age toning. Margins all around show traces of age and use. Lower margin has reinforcements for no obvious reasons, applied probably centuries ago. A slightly visible crease through the Atlantic in lower right corner. Considering the age of the print, it condition is much better than good.
25,7 x 34,2 cm (ca. 10.1 x 13.5") interior design, wall decoration, ideas, idea, gift ideas, present, vintage, charming, special, decoration, home interior, living room design