Rare English double-hemisphere map of the World, published in London by Robert Greene.
In a time when most decorative world maps were copied from one or two Dutch models, Greene's map stands out as a very unique work.
Greene's map features an unusual set of iconographic embellishments, which are seemingly unique to this map and very different than other maps of the period. Perhaps most interesting are the 4 scenes representing methods of hunting on each of the four continents, including a Cannibalism scene in America and a Centaur in Asia. The four corners of the map are further embellished with male and female royal figures representing the four continents, an unusual deviation from the normal female allegorical images of the continents employed by most other map makers.
Green's cartography is drawn from contemporary Dutch sources, California is shown as an island, the east coast of Australia is still undiscovered, as is the Northwest part of America.
Green's map is quite possibly the earliest world map engraved and published in England to include a set of polar hemispheric projections. It is also one of the earliest obtainable world maps published in England to show the coastline of New Zealand, along with Morden & Berry's rare 2 sheet Mercator' Projection map, dedicated to Captain John Wood.
The iconography of Greene's map is discussed at length in Jane M. Kinney's Mapping Literature: Cartography In the World Literature Classroom. Kinney notes the map's symbolic role in the evolution of the way in which Europeans perceived the world:
At the four corners of the print, the peoples of the four main continents are represented. The Europeans, in the top left corner, are represented by a man in ermine robes, wearing a long curly wig and holding a cane; a woman, also in ermine robe and wearing what appears to be a crown on her head; and a younger woman and a small boy, both elegantly dressed, apparently the offspring of the noble, if not royal, couple. The people of Asia are more exotic, wearing long robes and more ornate headdresses than the Europeans, but the man, the focal point of the group, looks across towards the European group. The Africans, in the lower right corner, are quite European in dress and appearance, although the woman reveals one leg, and the group appears to have fewer symbols or trappings of authority than do the Europeans. The Americans, in the lower left corner, also look European but are wearing short skirts and headdresses of feathers, and the woman and child are bare chested. Clearly the standards here, the understanding of what peoples are, are Eurocentric. The background scenes for each group are also interesting. The European landscape has people stag hunting on horseback; the Asians are engaged in man-to-man combat, also on horseback; the African scene shows a group of naked males hunting, on foot and accompanied by a centaur, although further in the background a warrior clad in robes and turban with sword raised rides a rearing horse away from a grazing elephant; three of the Americans appear to be kneeling by a flaming frame, while another runs toward them, carrying a bow, and yet another walks away with spear in hand.
Taken together, the images included on this map show European concepts of other peoples and, tacitly, of their own superiority: all the peoples shown have essentially European features, but the Africans and Americans are less well dressed and have strange beasts and customs. It is the Europeans who have pride of place, who wear and display the symbols of power (ermine robes, the crown, a scepter upraised in the woman's hand, etc.) and who stand atop the western hemisphere, thus visually controlling the New World and the peoples below; they apparently are also more civilized than the barbaric fighting Asians and the naked pedestrian hunters in the African scene. One could easily use this map to introduce discussions of the expanding knowledge and horizons of the western world, but also the growth of imperialism and the remnants of the strange and marvelous that still exist (the centaur pictured in Africa).
Shirley was able to locate only two examples, a damaged example in the British Library and an example which sold at Sotheby's in December 1, 1983. There is also a copy in the National Library of Australia. The New York Public Library also holds an example which is bound into a Samuel Thornton Sea Atlas, dated 1686.