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Number: 2304
Continent: Africa
Region: Continent
Place Names:
Year of Origin: 1531
Title: Nova, Et Integra Universi Orbis Descriptio
Language: Latin
Publish Origin: Paris
Size Class.: Medium
Color Type: No Color
Images of this map are not yet available.
Cartographer: Oronce Fine
Publisher: Christian Wechel
Other Contributors:
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Notes: The AFRITERRA Foundation is seeking donations [ ] to acquire this important map showing very early details of Africa in the famous double cordiform projection. Oronce Fine's double-cordiform map of the world is remarkable for several reasons. It was the most superior rendering of the world to-date, accompanying Johann Huttich's and Simon Grynaeus' collection of accounts of voyages entitled Novus Orbis Regionum. The book was first published in Basle but reprinted in Paris during 1532 by Christian Wechel with this accompanying map. It is thought that Wechel also sold copies of the map separately, and one copy inserted in Pomponius Mela's, "De orbis situ" 1530 sold at Christie's Paris auction of Pierre Beres collection, sale# 3534, lot 85, December 12, 2012. Geographically, Fine's map included the most advanced information available. The North American continent remains an extension of the Asian mainland much along the lines of the Contarini-Rosselli map of 1506 and Ruysch of 1507. However, the monumental discoveries made since the creation of these maps, which forever altering the coastlines, have also been included. Fine extended the eastern coast of North America southward beyond the discoveries of Gomes and Ayllon to a peninsular outline of Florida, which is named, and a reasonable depiction of the Gulf coast as described by Pineda in 1519. This is the earliest recognizable depiction of a continuous east coast of North America on a printed map. The South American continent is also admirably depicted, incorporating discoveries by the Portugese and by Ferdinand Magellan. Central America contains numerous place names reflecting conquests and explorations. The isthmus of Darian is shown and named, as well as the "Mare magellanicum" (Pacific Ocean), one of the first uses of the navigator's name in such a context. The west coast of Mexico, although continuous with Asia, is the earliest record on a printed map of the discoveries of Hernando Cortes. "Terra Australis" (Australia) fills much of the right-hand (or southern) cordum and is marked as being 'recently discovered but not yet explored.' The north pole is indicated by four islands and the separate island of Greenland is named. A large promontory marked "Gaccalar" (supposedly Labrador) extends from North America into the Atlantic. This highly detailed woodcut is surrounded by floral embellishments, two mermaids, two muscular cherubs, the French royal coat of arms and, at the head of the map, the title in a flowing banner. It's cartographic findings were hugely influential to the history of mapping and were followed by Gerard Mercator for his important world map of 1538, and for the copies by Antonio Salamanca (ca. 1550) and Antonio Lafreri (ca. 1564). This, the original 1531 woodblock was used for several later issues and can be found in six different states. * * * Oronce Fine was a French mathematician and cartographer. Born in Brian?n, the son and grandson of physicians, he was educated in Paris (Coll?e de Navarre), and obtained a degree in medicine in 1522. In 1531, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the Coll?e Royal (the present Coll?e de France), founded by Francis I of France, where he taught until his death. As well as being a fortifications expert (he worked on the fortifications of Milan), Fine was a noted astronomer and cartographer. He invented the cordiform or heart-shaped map, frequently utilized by other cartographers, such as Peter Apian and Gerardus Mercator. Oronce Fine's maps are particularly notable for his attempts to reconcile the discoveries in the New World with old medieval legends and information (derived from Ptolemy) regarding the Orient. Woodcut Paris, 1531Oronce Fine's double cordiform map of the world is one of the most striking and influential maps of the world published in the sixteenth century. First issued in 1531, it appeared in the 1532 Paris edition of Johann Huttich and Simon Grynaeus's 'Novus orbis regionum', a collection of travel accounts that had also been published in Basel several months before. The map is not only a visual delight but is also noteworthy for its cartographic content. It is the first printed world map based upon a double-cordiform polar projection, a form that would be much imitated by the likes of Mercator in 1538 and Salamanca and Lafreri a decade or so later. The right-hand or southern cordum shows the great southern land mass which Fine labels 'Terra Australis recenter inventa, sed nondu[m] plene cognita' (literally 'southern land recently found, but not yet fully known'). Since Antarctica was not discovered until 1820 by the Russian Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, its inclusion has led more fanciful writers to suggest that Fine received information from residents of the lost city of Atlantis, or even aliens. The cordum also contains the Pacific, which Fine names 'Mare magellanicum', one of the first appearances of the explorer's name upon a map. To the left-hand, or northern, cordum, America is resolutely attached to the easternmost part of Asia with the north pole being made up of four islands. The map is surrounded by beautiful and elaborate floral work with depictions of dragons, putti and mermaids. The present example is the first state of the map, retaining Fine's name in the lower cartouche. The second state, also dated 1531, includes the imprint of Hermannus Venraed, in place of Fine's name, but retains the 1531 dating. In all there are six states of the map, dated 1536, 1540, 1541 and 1555 respectively. Arader/Crouch; [to see image link at Christie's auction, select this link then right-click open-link for zoomable image]
Last updated: Jan 6, 2013