Seutter's rare edition of the map of Utopia (Schlaraffenlande), one of several to apppear in the early part of the 18th Century. Schlaraffenland is the German conception of Utopia, an imaginary land of idleness and luxury, where, as described in the 16th Century satire of Hans Sachs, chickens, geese, and pigeons fly around already cooked and waiting to be eaten, and every house is surrounded by a hedge of sausage. Seutter's map expands this theme considerably, and his Schlaraffenland becomes the land of all vice with names like Mammon, Stomach Empire, Land of Booze, Republic of Venerea, Tobacco Island, Prodigal Kingdom, etc., all surrounded by four others: the kingdoms of Youth and Old Age, Terra Sancta Incognita at the top, and Tartari Regnu -- the nether regions -- at the bottom. The geography is shown in remarkable detail, and described at length in a large book that was published at the same time. The numerous place-names on the map are nearly all puns, such as Alamode, Bacchanalia, and Cortisan; many of them are quite crude. To the north is New Jerusalem, in the unknown country of the pious; to the south is the kingdom of Hell, where all the inhabitants of Schlaraffenland will eventually arrive. Schlaraffenland maps were issued by Dutch and German mapmakers between about 1700 and 1750. The present example by Seutter is perhaps the scarcest, with a large ornate cartouche and striking color.
Matthäus Seutter (1678-1757) was a prominent German mapmaker in the mid-eighteenth century. Initially apprenticed to a brewer, he trained as an engraver under Johann Baptist Homann in Nuremburg before setting up shop in his native Augsburg. In 1727 he was granted the title Imperial Geographer. His most famous work is Atlas Novus Sive Tabulae Geographicae, published in two volumes ca. 1730, although the majority of his maps are based on earlier work by other cartographers like the Homanns, Delisles, and de Fer.
Alternative spellings: Matthias Seutter, Mathaus Seutter, Matthaeus Seutter, Mattheus Seutter