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Fine, Early Woodcut Set of World & Continent Maps

World & Continents Set. MUNSTER, S. [Basel, 1588]
[World:] Die erst General Tafel…[America:] Die newen Inseln… [Europe:] Europa das ein…[Africa:] Africa/ Lybia/…[Asia:] Asia…. 12 ½ x 14 ¼ inches
Fine hand color; a few stains, lightly toned, else excellent condition with firm impressions.


These are among the more finely executed, early woodcut maps. They first appeared in 1588 in Sebastian Munster’s very popular, Cosomographia, published by Sebastian Petri. They bear little resemblance both geographically and stylistically to the rather crude woodcut maps they replaced, which first appeared in 1540. One reason is that these woodcut works represent a rare case of having been modeled after copperplate maps—those of Ortelius—and to an extent imitated the style of the other medium. Especially remarkable is the fine italic and swash lettering found here, something undoubtedly most difficult to attain in wood. The result is a clarity and elegance far superior to that of the maps they replaced.

Burden67 (America); Shirley 163 (World); Betts 21 (Africa).

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