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Mid 16th century Ptolemaic map of India with the Ganges and Indus rivers.

Place/Date: Basel / 1545
Title: Tabula Asiae X (India)
Woodblock printing
26 x 34 cm (10.2 x 13.4 in)
Condition Rating


The first edition of Munster’s map of India and the Indian Ocean with the sources of the Indus and Ganges Rivers, based upon Claudius Ptolemy which appeared in his Geographia Universalis, first published in 1540. This famous map features illustrations of some of the mythological monsters reported by early travellers to the east, and at the top a figure of cannibals dismembering a corpse.

The Geographia was a new and important edition of Ptolemy, with redesigned maps and the text revised by Münster based on the Willibald Pirckheimer Latin translation with corrections of 1535 by Servetus.

Verso presents a decorative woodcut border 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. Very good throughout.


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