Typus Orbis Universalis.

Early c.16th woodcut map of this famous world by the German cartographer Sebastian Münster with the initials of the engraver David Kandel (1520 – 1592) at lower left. Münster made this new modern map of the world in an ovaloid … Read Full Description

$A 4,250

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S/N: MCOSMO-WM-1550-SHIR–446891
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Full Title:

Typus Orbis Universalis.




In good condition, with centre fold as issued.


Hand coloured woodcut.

Image Size: 

x 310mm

Paper Size: 

x 316mm
Typus Orbis Universalis. - Antique Map from 1550

Genuine antique



Early c.16th woodcut map of this famous world by the German cartographer Sebastian Münster with the initials of the engraver David Kandel (1520 – 1592) at lower left.

Münster made this new modern map of the world in an ovaloid projection for the 1550 edition of his Cosmographia.

Surrounding the map are decorative clouds and personified depictions of the twelve winds of the wind-system proposed by Aristotle with their names appearing in banners. The seas are richly embellished with sea monsters. With this map, Munster moved away from the classically accepted Ptolemaic model of the world with a landlocked Indian Ocean. He also omits, Terra Australis Incognita, usually found on world maps of the period and and names for the first time, the Pacific Ocean. The recently discovered North America is named, Terra Florida, and is shown with a huge inland sea which became known as the Verrazano Sea from the accounts of  Giovanni da Verrazano (1485-1528) who mistook the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds as the Pacific Ocean. The ship depicted on the right is Magellan’s ship Victoria honouring his circumnavigation of the world 1519-1522.

With this map Münster was one of the first to provide a more realistic picture of the world.

Latin text on the verso.

From Münster’s Cosmographia Universalis Henrichum Petri, Basle.

Shirley, R. The Mapping of the World Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700. London 1987 :: : 92.
Shirley, R. Maps in the Atlases of The British Library. London 2004 :: : T.MUN-1c / Map. 1.

National Library Australia: Bib ID 3408841
State Library New South Wales: CALL NUMBERS M2 100/1552/1 (French edition: these were published in 1552,1556, 1565, 1568
Library of Congress Washington D.C.: Call Number G3200 1550 .M8

Sebastian Munster (1488 - 1552)

Sebastian Munster (1488-1552) was an important German cartographer, cosmographer and Hebrew scholar who is best known for his 1540 Latin translation and publication of Ptolemy's Geography titled, Cosmographia. Prior to the introduction of printing for books, of works such as Ptolemy's groundbreaking Geography, they could only be copied individually by scribes, consequently this slow process inhibited the dissemination of geographic knowledge to a wide audience. As information became available especially of the new world, Munster found that Ptolemy's theories were contradicted by these new discoveries that were related to him by ships captains and explorers. One such theory was a land locked Indian Ocean which Ptolemy had shown in his Geography and which was being disproved by the trading ships returning from China and the Spice Islands with their precious cargos. As a result Munster began to add new maps to his own Cosmographia that reflected these new discoveries and made available to a wider audience this changing knowledge of the world.

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David Kandel (1520 - 1592)

Renaissance artist, engraver and scientific illustrator. Little can be verified of his life. He was probably born in Strasbourg, in 1520, married in 1554 and 33 years later, in 1587, he was named “owner of a house”. David Kandel died in 1592. His woodcuts for Bock’s Kreuterbuch were seen at the time as the best of botanical art for the next two centuries. He also engraved a number of maps and illustrations for Sebastion Munster's Cosmographia.

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