Double-hemisphere 1844 missionary world map, complete with associated booklet.

Welt-Karte der Mission.


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SKU: NL-01448 Category:
Date: 1844
Place: Basel
Dimensions: 48 x 35.5 cm (19 x 14 in)
Condition Rating: VG+


This is an early edition of a missionary map published by the Basel Evangelical Mission (Der evangelischen Missions-Anstalt Basel) in Switzerland. It was issued in multiple states for over fifty years, all in German. Our map and the associated booklet date to 1844; newer editions of this particular map were printed well into the 1890s. Our example maintains its original linen backing and, unlike most later editions, folds into a bound case that includes a 29-page description of the map in German (printed in Gothic lettering).

The mapmaker divides the world into three distinct spheres. With the oceans rendered in a contrasting blue, swathes of black color indicate the many regions still requiring exposure to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Uncolored or white areas demarcate the world of Christendom, while the Islamic world is colored grey and plainly labeled ‘Arabien.’ The geography is not only indicative of the time in which the map was produced – with era-specific labels such as New Holland and Greater India maintained – but it is also clearly a map that focuses on its fundamental message: see the darkness that must be expelled by light.

The most impressive element of this chart is undoubtedly the many semi-allegorical illustrations surrounding the double hemisphere. While the map’s message is unequivocal, these images are meant to engage viewers’ imagination and emotions. Moving clockwise from the upper left corner, we find a depiction of Native Americans adorned with the attire, weaponry, and wigwams that European audiences had come to expect. In the upper right corner, we find the Chinese Emperor donned in magnificent silken robes and seated on his throne, flanked by courtiers. Below this image, as below the Native American scene, is an artistic composition of exotic weapons and shields forming a heraldic vignette.

In the lower right corner of the map, we see the Indian Maharajah in a splendid four-person litter followed by a regally draped elephant. In the center of the bottom panel is a disturbing image of a shackled African whose face expresses the unimaginable fear and confusion associated with his condition. And finally, in the lower left corner, we see a scene representing the wild peoples of the Polar regions, seemingly represented by Sami or Siberian peoples. Floating above it all is an ornate title cartouche, under which is depicted a radiant book with the Biblical call to mission:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Matthew 28:18-20


Der evangelischen Missions-Anstalt Basel

Der evangelischen Missions-Anstalt Basel (1815-2001) was a Protestant non-denominational missionary society based in Basel, Switzerland. It was founded in 1815 after local Calvinists, and Lutherans from Württemberg had sworn a holy oath to form a joint seminary school, eventually establishing the Basel Mission (initially founded as the German Missionary Society).

In addition to local and German missionaries, the school also trained prospects from Britain and the Netherlands. During its almost two centuries, the Basel Mission was active in Russia, India, China, Borneo, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, and Latin America. In 2001, the Basel Mission was subsumed under Mission 21, the new and largest multi-denominational missionary organization in Switzerland.

Condition Description

Very good. Some wear on old fold lines, especially at fold intersections. Accompanies original 24 page booklet.


OCLC 222378511. Cornell University Library, P.J. Mode collection of persuasive cartography, #8548 (1860 edition).