Estense World Map

Estense World Map

Probably Mallorca (Spain) — ca. 1450

The world ca. 1450: a masterpiece from the Catalan school of cartography as proof of the highest level of craftsmanship

  1. Originating ca. 1450, it is considered to be a masterpiece of the Catalonian school of cartography

  2. An anonymous draftsman combines cartographic knowledge with his own fantastical visions of the world

  3. This specimen does not appear to have been produced for use at sea, but rather as a display of skill

Estense World Map

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Estense World Map

The Estense World Map arose ca. 1450 and was made by an anonymous draftsman of the Catalonian school of cartography. The cartographer mixed actual empirical findings with his own fantastical visions of the world. The magnificent map is found today in the Biblioteca Estense in the Italian city of Modena.

Estense World Map

The area of Catalonia-Valencia-Mallorca formed the economic and cultural center of 14th century Spain. Education, art, and all types of scholarship were found there. The cartography schools of that region produced some world maps, which form the basis of our modern geographic knowledge. The Estense World Map is counted among the masterpieces of the Catalonian school. This world map was most likely not used for sea voyages, but rather to evidence the refined technical skill of the draftsman, whose vision of the Earth reached out from the Mediterranean into unknown regions.

On the Tracks of Marco Polo

The unknown draftsman of the Catalonian world map made his work with the aid of empirical data of the Mediterranean region, which he knew best. For the depiction of unknown regions he relied on literary sources and logically implemented these. His representation of China was clearly influenced by tales of the famous explorer and world traveler Marco Polo. The map additionally reflected the religious sentiments of the draftsman. The heavenly paradise is depicted in the region of Africa on the circular map.

Fantastic Imagination

In his map, the cartographer added real scientific facts alongside a few curiosities, which indicate his boundless fantasy and compositional delight. The depiction of Africa does not show the actual form of the region. It is formed in a series of portraits, which show conquerors, kings, and sultans with animal countenances. In the master’s conception, the laws of God and nature were suspended outside of Europe. The cartographic treasure is found today in the Bibliotece Estense in Italy.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Mapamundi Catalán
Mapamundi Catalán Estense
Mappamondo Estense
Mappemonde Catalane
Katalanische Weltkarte
Mapa-múndi Catalão
Estense-Weltkarte
Il mappamondo Catalano Estense
Mapamundi Catalan-Estense
Catalan-Estense World Map
Size / Format
1 map / Diameter: 113.0 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
ca. 1450
Script
Humanistic
Content
Early example of a north oriented world map
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Estense Family

Available facsimile editions:
Estense World Map – C.G.A.1 – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1996
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Detail Picture

Estense World Map

Africa

Stylistically, the most noteworthy characteristic of the Catalan school is the series of portraits of the lords of the desert in their tents, some of whom are actual sultans and others legendary figures. These are the earliest European maps to acknowledge and record the presence of Islamic power in the Mediterranean. Some of these figures are depicted with dogs’ faces as though the laws of God and nature did not apply outside of Europe, but this is probably a metaphor whose meaning is now lost.

Mapamundi Catalán
Facsimile Editions

#1 Mapamundi Catalán

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1996
Estense World Map – C.G.A.1 – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Estense World Map – C.G.A.1 – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1996
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Binding: Protective red linen case
Commentary: 1 volume (216 pages) by Ernesto Milano, Joan Veny, and Annalisa Battini
Languages: Spanish, Catalan
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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