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Excellent woodcut map of Africa with Mountains of the Moon and mythical cities.

Place/Date: Leipzig / ca. 1585
$1,300.
Title: Africa Tertia Pars Terrae
Technique
Woodblock printing
Dimensions
30.5 x 36.8 (12 x 14.5 in)
Identifier
NL-00066
Coloring
Hand color
Condition Rating
VG

Description

Decorative Ptolemaic map of Africa with an unusual shape, tapering to a point in the south. It comes from Heinrich Bunting’s Itinerarum Sacrae Scripturae, and is based upon the map of Africa by Sebastian Münster which appeared in 1540.

The Nile is represented according to Ptolemy, with two lakes and the Mountains of the Moon serving as its source. Bunting’s map, however, offers a fascinating deviation from that of Münster in that is also depicts a third large lake – Nidilis lacus – located in Central Africa as a third source for the Nile.

Cities and kingdoms are noted, including the mythical kingdom of the Christian king Prester John. On an island in the Nile we see Meroe, which archaeological excavations have revealed to be part of the capital city of the ancient Nubian Kingdom of Kush.

The stylized wavy seas are dotted with islands, the largest of which, Zaphala, would appear to represent Madagascar.

Cartographer(s)

Heinrich Bünting

Heinrich Bünting (1545 – 1606) was a Protestant pastor and theologian. He is best known for his book of woodcut maps titled Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae (Travel book through Holy Scripture) first published in 1581.

Condition Description

As seen in the scan, two areas of minor loss in the margin at the centerfold. Map image bright and clean.

References

Betz #24.3; Norwich #17; Tooley (MCC-29) #141.

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