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A Very Early Depiction of the Arctic Regions

Arctic/ Northwest Passage.. MERCATOR, G./ HONDIUS, J. [Antwerp, 1610]
Polus Arcticus cum vicinis regionibus. 5 ¼ x 7 ¼ inches.
Fine hand color; mended wormhole in lower left just touching border, else excellent condition.


An attractive example of this beautifully engraved small-format map of the Arctic. This intriguing early map combines theoretical, medieval geographic concepts with some of the most advanced cartography of its day. It displays the 14th-century conception of the polar region, in which the oceans of the world flow into a polar sea through in-drawing streams between four huge islands. Although this was essentially fantasy, its notion of an open polar sea was accidentally correct.

The work shares the striking design of its folio editions, with the circular map set off by roundels in the corners. In addition to the map’s title, the roundels contain inset maps of the Faroe and Shetland islands, and the fictitious island of Frisland.

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