Typus cosmographicus universalis

Author: Münster, Sebastian
Date: 1532

Dimensions: 40 x 55 cm.
Scale: [ca .1:35,000,000]


The physical item is not available at the Boston Public Library.

Decorated with sea monsters, mermaids, exotic animals, and cannibals, this wood cut map provides a marked contrast to the simplistic diagrams considered the earliest printed world maps. While the latter presented a world view based in Judeo-Christian theology, this uniquely ornamented map emphasized the strange and fanciful discoveries emanating from European explorations in America, Africa, and Asia.

Most likely prepared by the geographer Sebastian Münster and decorated by the artist Hans Holbien the Younger, this map illustrated the Basel edition of Novus Orbis Regionum, a collection of early voyage accounts, first published in 1532 and republished in 1555. Underscoring Europeans' dilemma during the first quarter of the 16th century in rationalizing the New World discoveries, Münster's map followed the model of Waldseemüller and Apianus showing the New World discoveries as a separate continent named America placed between two distinctly separate oceans.

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