TITLE: [oval world map]
AUTHOR: Benedetto Bordone
DESCRIPTION: This simple, colorful woodcut world map measures 32.5
x 16.5 cm (12.8 x 6.5 in.), was published in 1528 by Bordone in his Libro
di Benedetto Bordone . . . , or Isolario [book of islands] in Venice.
It was long considered to be the first use of this type of projection for
a printed world map. However, an earlier world map by Francesco Rosselli
(Slide #313.1) from ca. 1508 also uses this oval projection and may have
served as a major source for this relatively coarse example by Bordone.
Underlining the geographic landmasses is a system of parrallels and meridians.
The perimeter oval in Bordone's map has an axial ratio of exactly 1:2, the
meridians are drawn at intervals of 20°, the parallels at intervals
of 11.25° (equal to a ratio of 180:16). The meridians are not, however,
exact ellipses (an apprarently difficult task for cartographers in the 16th
Bordone took into account the new discoveries, such as the connection of
North and South America, the separation of North America from Asia and the
spuriousness of an Arctic archipelago. However, this map alo shows less
than current geographical thought by the shape of South America, the lingering
use of the "Tiger Leg" of southeast Asia along with the remnants
of the Ptolemaic land-bridge between Africa and southeast Asia, the poor
rendering of India and the complete elimination of the Antarctic landmass.
North America bears the inscription Terra del laboratore; South America
possesses the label Mondo Novo, the extremity of which is about 30°
south latitude. While not shown on this world map, the termination of South
Amewrica is only intended to represent the northern shores of a strait,
which is absolutely marked in another small map in the Isolario and
contains the legend: Stretto p[ar]te del mondo novo. The other names
are replaced by graceful italic script and numerals which refer to a nomenclature
on the back of one of the large maps.
The scholar Lelewel expressed the opinion that the map may have been completed
as early as 1521 based upon some text on the verso of the title page of
the Isolario . However, Henry Harrisse finds other evidence to reject
this argument for this map, as well for book as a whole. The Isolario
was a cartographical form that had developed in Italy during the 15th century.
Bordone's work was the second printed book to belong to this genre. It was
modeled on various Ptolemy editions and on the Isolario by Bartolomeo
dalli Sonetti of 1485. Bordone's book contains 107 maps, plans and drawings.
The maps are all similar, with clearly drawn outlines, wind roses with eight
broken lines and the maps placed in a square frame. This type of book form
was followed by others such as Camocio and Porcacchi. There were also later
editions of Bordone's work in 1534, 1547 and ca, 1565, all printed from
the same wood blocks in Venice.
Location: British Library, Maps C.7.b.10
Size: 32.5 x 16.5 cm (12.8 x 6.5 in.)
Harrisse, H., The Discovery of North America, pp. 447, 559-561, nos. 74
*Nordenskiöld, E.E., Facsimile Atlas, pp. 90, 10-104, Plate XXXIX
The World Encompassed, no. 83
*Shirley, R. The Mapping of the World, no. 59, PLate 55
*Wolff, H. , America, Early Maps of the New World, pp. 68-69, no. 84 (c)