C1574

Tabula Asiae XII

Very early map of Ceylon with a superb woodcut of the ‘Pascua Elephantum’ (an elephant at pasture) which Ptolemy wrote in his Geographia, of seeing at the base of the Malli Mountains. In the lower left is a decorative cartouche … Read Full Description

$A 425

S/N: RUSC-ASI-CEY-012–228206
(C017)
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Details

Full Title:

Tabula Asiae XII

Date:

C1574

Condition:

In good condition, with centre fold as issued.

Technique:

Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

260mm 
x 175mm

Paper Size: 

310mm 
x 225mm
AUTHENTICITY
Tabula Asiae XII - Antique Print from 1574

Genuine antique
dated:

1574

Description:

Very early map of Ceylon with a superb
woodcut of the ‘Pascua Elephantum’ (an elephant at pasture) which
Ptolemy wrote in his Geographia, of seeing at the base of the Malli
Mountains. In the lower left is a decorative cartouche which includes a
note indicating that the island was a rich source of ivory.

In ancient
times, Sri Lanka was known by various names, Ptolemy named it Taprobana,
the Arabs Serendib, the Portuguese called it Ceilo and the British,
Ceylon. Much confusion existed among medieval mapmakers as to the
identities of the islands of Taprobana and Sumatra which arose primarily
from the descriptions in the ancient texts which stated that Taprobana
was the largest island in the world. This was later contradicted by
Marco Polo in his Il Milione in which he stated that it was Java Minor
(Sumatra) that was in fact the largest island. As Sumatra was virtually
unknown to most medieval mapmakers their primary concern was the
placement of Taprobana on maps.

Invariably it was incorrectly positioned
off the southeast coast of Arabia but once the accounts of Marco Polo
were revealed at the end of the thirteenth century, the eastern limits
of the Indian Ocean were greatly expanded and the question as to the
identity of the islands became more critical for mapmakers. The
Portuguese arrived on the island in 1505 and by 1518 had built a fort in
Colombo, enabling them to control strategic coastal areas they had
previously captured. Once Portuguese information and charts were copied,
the position of Ceylon and the confusion with Sumatra was corrected.

From, La Geografia di Claudio Tolomeo Alessandrino, gia Tradotta di Greco in Italiano da M. Giero Ruscelli

Ref: Stevens

Girolamo Ruscelli (1504 - 1566)

Ruscelli was an Italian Alchemist, physician and cartographer, born around 1504 in Viterbo. He revised the Ptolemy Geography, which was issued 1561 until 1599 in Venice. The new copper engraved maps are based on Gastaldi's edition of 1548. He died in 1566 in Venice.

View other items by Girolamo Ruscelli

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