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Stylized mid-16th century woodcut map of Northern India and Pakistan.

Place/Date: Basel / 1545
Title: Tabula Asiae IX (Northern India and Pakistan)
Woodblock printing
34 x 26 cm (13.5 x 10 in)
Condition Rating


The first edition of Münster’s map of Northern India (present-day Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan), based upon the work of Claudius Ptolemy. River systems, mountain ranges, and cities are all depicted.

Ptolemy divided India as that within (west of) the Ganges River, and that beyond (east of) it. This framework is followed on the Münster map as well: on either side of the Ganges River Delta we see INDIAE PARS and INDIAE INTRA.

On verso a decorative woodcut border who were probably cut by the famous 16th century woodcutter Hans Holbein.


Sebastian Münster

Sebastian Münster (1488 – 1552) was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and a Christian Hebraist scholar.

His Cosmographia of 1544 was the earliest German-language description of the world. It had numerous editions in different languages including Latin, French, Italian, English, and even Czech. The Cosmographia was one of the most successful and popular works of the 16th century. It passed through 24 editions in 100 years. This success was due to its excellent woodcuts (some by Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel), in addition to including the first to introduce separate maps for each of the four continents known then – America, Africa, Asia and Europe. It was most important in reviving geography in 16th-century Europe. The last German edition was published in 1628, long after his death.

Münster died in Basel of the plague in 1552.

Condition Description

Woodblock map with letterpress on verso. Paper with usual age-toning.


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