Utopia -- The Slothful Variety
Despite the name, the map is not a reflection of St. Thomas More's ideal society.
Schlarraffenland is the German Fool's Paradise, a land of vice and debauchery. The map follows the theme of Hans Sachs Der Meistersinger Von Nurnberg with a detailed and realistic-looking map of this idle and luxurious world.
Divided into 19 regions with such names as the Kingdom of Extravagance, Empire of Fat Stomachs, Land of Indolence and Land of Gluttony, the map illustrates man's primary vices.
To the north is the Terra Sancta Incognita (Unknown Land of Religion) where Jerusalem is shown shining from a mountaintop.
The large title cartouche is decorated by figures representing gambling, drunkenness, lust and extravagance.
Schlarraffenland is the German equivalent of the Land of Cockaigne, the imaginary land of idleness and luxury (famously depicted by Breughel in his painting of 1567).
Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) was a mapmaker who founded the famous Homann Heirs publishing company. He lived his entire life in Bavaria, particularly in Nuremberg. Initially, Johann trained to become a priest before converting to Protestantism and working as a notary.
In 1702, Johann founded a publishing house that specialized in engravings. The firm flourished, becoming the leading map publisher in Germany and an important entity in the European map market. In 1715, Johann was named Imperial Geographer to the Holy Roman Empire by Charles VI and made a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Most importantly for his business, his reputation and contacts gained him imperial printing privileges which protected his publications and recommended him to customers. Johann is best known for this Grosser Atlas ueber die ganze Welt, or the Grand Atlas of the World, published in 1716.
After Johann died in 1724, the business passed to his son, Christoph (1703-1730). Upon Christoph’s early death, the company passed to subsequent heirs, with the name of the company changing to Homann Erben, or Homann Heirs. The firm continued in business until 1848.