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Map of the World in Two Hemispheres f.1

Map of the World in Two Hemispheres f.1

Cartographer: Martines, Joan

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1578

Shelfmark: Harley MS 3489

Item number: f.1

Genre: Manuscript Map

This is a map of the two hemispheres of the world. It is from a bound volume of portolan charts, drawn on vellum by Joan Martines, a chart maker from Messina, Italy, and dates from 1578. Portolan charts take their name from the Italian ‘Portolano’, meaning a written description of Catalan and Italian ports along a coastline. The first portolan Charts date from the late 13th century and represent an important change in the use of maps and charts. Until this point, most maps had held a religious significance and purpose, such as the medieval mappa mundi which was based on theological beliefs. The portolan chart contrasts with this tradition as they are based on direct observation and first hand experience and have a practical purpose. These maps form the frontispiece to the atlas and are inscribe with the name of the chart maker and the date. The British Isles are shown as three islands, Scotland being separated from England by a tract of sea. The winds are represented by heads which are blowing towards the hemispheres, each is named.

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