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Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
MÜNSTER, SEBASTIAN; and HOLBEIN, HANS. Typus Cosmographicus Universalis. Decorative woodcut map of the world on two sheets joined. 16 1/4x24 1/2 inches sheet size, wide margins; original folds flattened, left margin expertly replaced, a fine-looking example. Basel, 1532
Celebrated world map published in "Novus Orbis Regionum", Johann Huttich and Simon Grynaeus's 1532 anthology of early voyages. The geography of the map, outdated by the time of its publication, represents North America as a slim island region labeled "Terra de Cuba" and is a reversion to the Waldseemuller world map of 1507. Great advancement in the cartography of the New World had been made in these intervening 25 years. However, "What the Münster-Holbein map lacks in precision, it gains in richness of artistic decoration" (Shirley.)
The elaborate woodcut borders were designed by the great Northern Renaissance painter Hans Holbein the Younger and enhance the map with a rich sense of artistic ornamentation. Imagery from around the world appears in the spandrels surrounding the globe which would have appeared quite fantastic to contemporary viewers: exotic animals and peoples, East Indian spices of nutmeg and pepper, an image of the Italian traveler Varthema journeying about, and a terrifying sight of cannibalism. At either pole, angels turn crank handles to rotate the world on its axis, an early reflection of the Copernican model which was not a widely explicit theory until the publication of his De Revolutionibus in 1543.
This is unquestionably one of the most interesting and attractive world maps from the Age of Discovery. As Shirley notes: "variations in type and text may occur from one edition to another," this issue with Asia in small block letters and Tropicus Capricorni below the tropical line. Shirley 67.
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