|Dimensions||205 x 205 mm|
An extremely rare woodcut planisphere from the Cosmographiae Introductio, the accompanying explanatory text for the Universalis Cosmographia, the landmark 1507 world map by Martin Waldseemüller. The illustration shows the Ptolemaic globe, truncated before the southernmost point to illustrate the lack of classical knowledge beyond this point and the putative southern continent joined to Africa that enclosed the Indian ocean. Surrounding the globe is a halo-like Circulus Meridionalis, extending the measurements of latitude, while longitude is similarly expanded by a band running across the globe at the equator. The compass points are marked around the outside by the Latin names of the Anemoi, the gods of the winds.
The Universalis Cosmographia is one of the greatest achievements of sixteenth century cartography, and the so-called 'birth-certificate of America.' The map, a woodcut world map printed over twelve sheets, was created and printed in the city of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, then part of the Holy Roman Empire and a centre for geographic study. Although one thousand copies were printed, the only known surviving example is now held in the Library of Congress. Martin Waldseemüller, the cartographer credited as its creator, described the choice of the name America as following the pattern of feminine names for the existing classical continents, choosing to honour Amerigo Vespucci over Columbus due to a confusion in date over the former's explorations. Subsequent publications attempted to rectify the mistake, but the name was already established and in use by this point. In addition to the wall map, Waldseemüller and his colleagues, including the Alsatian geographer Matthias Ringmann, also created a series of globe gores and the Cosmographiae Introductio, an explanatory treatise combined with an edition of Vespucci's four voyages.
Martin Waldseemüller (11th September, 1470 - 16th March, 1520) was a German author, cartographer, and publisher, and one of the most significant figures in the history of cartography. His most celebrated achievement was the publication in 1507 of his Universalis Cosmographia, a monumental twelve-panel map of the world making use of the discoveries of Columbus and Vespucci, and being the first recorded use of the title 'America' to describe the New World. In addition to this, Waldseemuller's appendix to his Ptolemaic atlas featured some of the very first individual maps of European discoveries in the New World, East Indies, and Western and Southern Africa.
Condition: Printed on full sheet with wide margins. Patches of time toning to surface of sheet. Block worn in parts, radial line at approximately 11 o'clock partially unprinted. Latin text on verso.