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Description

Scarce Example of Honter's Cordiform Map of the World

This is a nice example of Honter's cordiform map of the world, revised to include a more complete mapping of America and a vastly improved treatment of Asia. The map is attractively decorated, with clouds parting to reveal stars and angels blowing to create the winds of the Mediterranean.

The layout of the continents is shockingly modern. By complete luck, Antarctica is almost correctly formed, with an Antarctic Peninsula, and Ronne and Ross Seas all imaginable and even correctly placed relative to the polar circle. Some curiosities dot other parts of the map. Asia is only labeled west of the Ural mountains, while India shows the lands from Siberia to Indochina, only comprising the easternmost part of the continent and subcontinent. The Blue and the White Niles can be seen to trace their source to lakes deep in Africa, next to a mountain range labeled Ethiopia. In the Americas, a major river flows into the Gulf of California, and Quito is labeled in Patagonia.

The map is projected in a cordiform manner. This style of mapping was popular for only a very short period of time, from 1511 to 1566. These maps were useful as they are all equal-area maps, something which predated their time by several centuries. These were, for the most part, supposedly projected equidistantly from the North Pole. Cordiform maps would soon be replaced by maps more useful for navigation, and according to Kish this Honter map was the penultimate true cordiform map to be made.

The verso shows an attractive uncolored map of Ireland. Many features can be distinguished, and early towns and cities are shown pictorially. Islands are scattered around the mainland, and ships and sea monsters can be found off of the western and southern coasts.

This map appeared in later editions of Honter's Cosmographia Rudimentis, a manual wich standardized the treatment of cosmography. This map appeared in ten editions of the work, ranging from 1561 to 1602. Only some examples appear to have Ireland printed on the verso.

Condition Description
Fold split, expertly repaired on verso.
Reference
The Cosmographic Heart: Cordiform Maps of the 16th Century,. Kish (1965); Shirley 108