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Taprobana Insula ( Sumatra ) ~ SOLD

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Product Description

Taprobana Insula ( Sumatra )

A rare mid-16th century wood cut map in old colour by the German geographer, cartographer and theologian Sebastian Munster (1488-1552) of Taprobana Island which on some maps of the period referred to the island of Ceylon off the south-east coast of the Indian sub-continent, and on others to the much larger island of Sumatra off the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. In this particular instance the island called Taprobana has the equator running through the southern part of the island and therefore cannot represent Ceylon or Sri Lanka which lies between Latitude 60 and 100 north of the equator. The position of the equator and the location to the south-west of ‘Pars Indiae’ suggests Sumatra Island, with the former being part of Malaysia. The name, shape and position of the island in the Indian ocean is in fact derived from an earlier world map of Claudius Ptolemy contained in a 15th century (pre-1470) manuscript volume (Codex La. V F.32 in the National Library, Naples) and represents a vestige of the mythical islands of Ptolemy’s land-locked Indian Ocean (Mare Indicum). The western third of the map shows and Asian elephant and part of a tree with a cartouche below containing old Gothic text referring to Taprobana and Sumatra and the commodities available on the island including pepper, one of the major spices produced in Sumatra. The map was probably published in Münster’s Geographia Universalis …. in 1540.

Very good condition; measures 252 x 345 mm.

Purchase code: M0299

Price on request.

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