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Stock# 72783

One of the Most Colorful 19th Century Mexican Chromolithographic Plate Books -- By the Father of Mexican Geography

Nice example of Antonio Garcia Cubas's Atlas Pinturesco e Historico, one of the finest works of Mexican Chromolithography published in the 19th Century. 

[The] Atlas pintoresco e historico was a highly polished presentation of the character of the state defined through a variety of statistics graphically presented in beautiful thematic maps.... The imagery on the ethnographic map treated the 'white race' respectfully by contrast to the more intrusive images of indigenous peoples. Again, on the map dedicated to education...a host of portraits-almost entirely of white men-pay homage to Mexico's literate society, while the color scheme of the map itself parallels the color hierarchy of Mexican society by displaying literacy rates from high (in white) to low (in brown)." (Osher Library, Mapping Latin America...).  

First published by Debray Sucesores in 1885, the work consists of a series of ethnographical, botanical, natural architectural, political, religious imagery of Mexico, with images of transportation, public institutions, agriculture and geological features. The final four maps show the history of Mexico, the Valley of Mexico and Two additional maps show the Valley of Mexico and Mexico City and its environs.

Each map is bordered by exquisitely rendered vignettes, pertaining to the map's theme.  

Rumsey notes: "The maps and illustrations bordering them are superb. Garcia Cubas was the preeminent Mexican cartographer of the 19th century. "

There are two editions, 1885 and 1897.  The editions are identical, other than the title pages.


The 1897 re-issue is scarce on the market, with only 4 examples at auction reported in RBH in the past 40 years.

Condition Description
Title page and 13 maps.
Palau 98736. Phillips, Atlases 2686.
Antonio Garcia y Cubas Biography

Antonio García y Cubas (1832-1912) was a Mexican geographer, historian, writer, and cartographer. An orphan from a young age, Cubas attended the Colegio de San Gregorio and the Colegio de Ingenieros, where he earned a geography degree. In 1856, he became a member of the Sociedad Mexicana de Geografía y Estadística.

Cubas wrote several geographic works, including introductory courses to geography, historical atlases, and maps. He is best known for his Atlas Geográfico, Estadístico e Histórico de la República Mexicana (1857), Carta General de México (1863), and Diccionario Geográfico, Histórico y Biográfico de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos en cinco volúmenes, editados entre 1888 y 1891. He is also praised for his memoir, El Libro de mis Recuerdos (1905). Today, the best books published in anthropology and history in Mexico are given the Antonio García Cubas prize.