Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Catalan Atlas

As i'm not travelling much for real lately(wish i could), But i love to read and collect maps, mapping stories, mapping art projects, poems, you name it, (cause i can't) and when i think nothing will surprise me more, the pleasure comes again (The Catalan Atlas, very known but images are so beautiful, i had to see/show it again): The Catalan Atlas of 1375 by Abraham Cresques, a Catalonian Jew of Majorca who worked in the court of Peter of Aragon, ruler of the Mediterranean island of Majorca. The atlas was mounted on eight panels of wood which could be folded like a screen. The Catalan Atlas presented a view of the world that was a very accurate representation of the world as it was known a century before the discovery of the western hemisphere.

The atlas is considered historically important as a record of the "state of the art" of geographic knowledge of the late 14th Century including details drawn from Marco Polo's narratives which made it the most accurate depiction of Asia of its time.

It also marks a departure from some mapmaking conventions of the Middle Ages. The mapmaker omitted some--though not all--unverifiable information and mythical beings that had been included in maps for centuries. In this respect, the Catalan Atlas marks a transition to the empirical approach of the Renaissance. References: Bibliotheque Nationale de France "The Catalan Atlas" from "The Age of King Charles V"

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