Die statt Cusco (Il Cuscho, citta principale della provincia del Peru). - #2096

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DATE: c1556

MAP MAKER: Sebastian Münster.

SIZE: 14 7/8" X 10 5/8".

PRICE: $500.00


Sebastian Münster; 1489-1552.

A true renaissance man, this german linguist and mathematician (and franciscan) may not have been as good a cartographer as Gerard Mercator or Abraham Ortelius. But he is generally credited for having been the first and foremost influence in the spreading of geographical interest and knowledge throughout Europe.
His major publications must have been the most read books of their time (beside religious texts). He expanded on, and corrected, the work of Martin Waldseemüller, on the basis of his massive correspondence with numerous german scholars. Most of his maps were printed using the woodblock technique of the day.
Of note:
- Geographia in 1540-42-45-52, all in latin, with 27 ptolemaic maps and 13 (growing to 27 in the last issue) modern maps.
- Cosmographia Universalis in 1544. In 6 volumes, it was also published by his step son; Henrich Petri, who continued the printing till 1588, well after Münster death of the plague. Further editions in 9 volumes by Petri's son (Henri Sebastian) till 1628 were rushed to print to compete against the more successful Ortelius atlas, with Ortelius maps instead of Munster's!
All in all, 33 editions, 19 in german, 5 in latin, 6 in French, 2 in Italian and 1 in czech.

Die statt Cusco (Il Cuscho, citta principale della provincia del Peru).

This large woodblock print (14 7/8" X 10 5/8") was probably issued in 1556 (only after 1550 were the enlarged editions of the "Cosmographia Universalis" to include major town prospects).
It depicts the imperial city of Cuzco, where the Inca resided till the spanish conquest in 1534... The engraving was " borrowed" from the 1556 "Delle navigationi et viaggi" by Gian Battista Ramusio.
A naïve and charming representation of the houses, buildings, palace and fortifications, in the manner of the day (this style will bloom in 1572 with the "Civitates Orbis Terrarum" by Braun & Hoggenberg, who recycled the Cuzsco prospect, among many other originals by Munster). This fantasy town plan of Cuzco is known to have been reproduced in various forms till the second half of the 18th century.
On the verso: text in german, and a fascinating map of the city of Mexico (Themistitan, or Thenochtitlan), as an island on its lake, very much in the style of the 1524 map attributed to Hernan Cortez himself. A representation of a stepped pyramid (half a castle, with adjacent temples) dominates the center of the town, which is connected to other districts and suburbs by dykes and bridges.



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