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India

Title
Decima Asie Tabula.
Author
PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius [translated by ANGELUS, Jacobus, edited by GERMANUS, Nicolaus]
Publisher
Lienhart Holle,
Publication place
Ulm,
Publication date
16 July 1482.
Dimensions
420 by 565mm. (16.5 by 22.25 inches).
Price
£25,000
Reference
3116
  • Description

    Double-page woodcut map, fine original hand-colour.

  • Notes

    This striking map depicts India as envisaged by the second century A.D, cartographer Claudius Ptolemaeus, and is one of the earliest obtainable prints maps of the area. Ptolemy's map bears little resemblance to the India subcontinent. Ptolemy's miscalculation of the length of the Indian coastline, coupled with his under estimation of the circumference of the globe, led the sub-continents distortion, with Ptolemy attempting to cram to much information into too little a space.

    The map was published in the first atlas printed outside Italy and the first atlas illustrated with woodcut maps.

    In 1482 Lienhart Holle in Ulm published a revised edition of Ptolemy's Geographia with the reworking of the Ptolemaic corpus by the cartographer Nicolaus Germanus Donis. The atlas included five additional "modern" maps: Italy, Spain, France, Scandinavia, and the Holy Land. The atlas would be the first book printed by Lienhart Holle, however, it would appear that the venture proved ruinously expensive and his business would go bankrupt shortly after publication. The remaining sheets, the woodblocks and the types passed to Johann Reger in Ulm, who reissued the work in 1486.

    As well as the modern maps the atlas bears some other notable first. It was the first time that maps were signed by the artist responsible for the woodcutting; in this case Johannes of Armsheim, who signed the world map, and incorporated a backwards N into the woodcut text on each map. It is also the first to print the accompanying text on the verso of the map to which it refers. Another important feature of the Ulm editions is the introduction of the publisher's colouring upon the maps. Maps from 1482 usually have a rich blue colour in the sea which was replaced with a soft brown colour in 1486.

  • Bibliography

    Campbell, T., 'Earliest Printed Maps', p. 179-210; Schreiber 5032; Skelton, R.A., Bibliographical note prefixed to the facsimile of the 1482 Ulm Ptolemy