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Description

Attractively colored example of Johannes Ruysch's map of the World, the earliest obtainable map to illustrate any portion of America.

Engraved on a fan-shaped conical projection, Ruysch's map incorporates the discoveries of the Portuguese, Spanish and English explorers in America. Ruysch adopts Amerigo Vespucci's name "Mundus Novus" (New World) in South America, while the explored regions of North America (Newfoundland, Venlant, etc.) remain attached to the Asian continent, consistent with the theories espoused by Christopher Columbus.

Between the two landmasses, Spagñola and a large landmass to the west float unattached to either continent, suggesting a wide direct water course to the riches of the Orient. In fact, Rusch speculated Spagñola was in fact Marco Polo's Spangu (Japan). The second landmass is likely the partially explored coastline of Cuba.

The Polar regions shows 4 large land masses in the Polar Sea, the first serious attempt to depict these regions on a printed map. The treatment of India, Eastern Asia and Africa are all considerably modernized from the maps of Ptolemy.

Johannes Ruysch (1460ca-1533) was, importantly, one of the few of the great cartographers of the first period of global exploration to have actually visited the New World. He is thought to have accompanied Sebastian Cabot on his 1497 voyage to Newfoundland, the first recorded European visit to Canada since the times of the Vikings. Originally from Utrecht, Netherlands, following his maritime experiences he became a lay priest and travelled to Rome, where he became involved in the production of groundbreaking maps, of which the present work was the preeminent. With the patronage of Pope Julius II, it is thought that Ruysch assisted Raphael in painting the "Astronomia" and other frescoes in the Stanza della segnatura in the Vatican (1509-10). He subsequently moved to Lisbon, where he served as astronomer to the royal court of Manuel I. He died at an advanced age at the St. Martin's Monastery in Cologne.

Ruysch's map is the earliest obtainable printed map of the World to depict America, preceded only by the Contarini-Roselli map of 1506, known in only a single example (at the British Library).
Attractively colored example of Johannes Ruysch's map of the World, the earliest obtainable map to illustrate any portion of America.

Condition Description
Two sheets, joined. Trimmed at top and sides, just affecting the printed image.
Reference
Shirley, R.W. (World) 25, pl.29; Fite & Freeman 9; Suarez, T. (Veil) 12; Schwartz & Ehrenberg p.28-9; TMC no. 17, pp.52-53.