Secunda etas mundi (second world map)

  • Author: Hartmann Schedel
  • Date: 1493
  • Medium: Hand-colored woodblock
  • Condition: Very good
  • Inches: 22 3/4 x 16 3/4
  • Centimeters: 58.33 x 42.31
  • Price: Price on Request

Hartmann Schedel's world map was based on the cartographic system of Claudius Ptolemy, whose geographic scholarship formed the foundation for map production in the fifteenth century. This map is ostensibly based on Ptolemy's second projection, yet it was simplified for a popular audience and therefore drawn without latitudes, longitudes, scales and extensive nomenclature.

The map reveals the medieval imagination with a border containing twelve dour wind-heads, and three of its corners featuring solemn figures of Ham, Shem and Japhet taken from the Old Testament.

It also features panels representing fantastic creatures that were thought to inhabit the furthermost parts of the earth, including seven images to the left of the map and a further fourteen on the verso. Among the scenes are a six-armed man, a centaur, a four-eyed man, a dog-headed man from the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia, a cyclops, a man with a single giant foot, a man with a huge lower lip, a man with ears hanging down to his waist, and other fanciful, colorful creatures.

The map comes from the richest illustrated Incunable, the famous: Liber chronicarum, or Nuremberg Chronicle, published upon the return of Christopher Columbus to Europe after discovering The New World / America.

The woodblock cutters were Michael Wolgemut, the well-known teacher of Albrecht Dürer between 1486-90. Scholarship has also recently shown that Dürer may also have collaborated on this work, since some of the cuts bear resemblance to his Apocalypse illustrations.

The printing was carried out under the supervision of the famous scholar-printer Anton Koberger.
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