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Portolan Map of the World in Two Hemispheres

Portolan Map of the World in Two Hemispheres

Cartographer: Martines, Joan

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1582

Shelfmark: Add MS 5019 f. 1

Scale: Centimetres

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 1582. 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.
Here Scotland is not shown as an island separated from England by a tract of sea. By this time knowledge of the Bay of Cardigan was evident on maps, and here the exaggerated "zig-zag" shape of England may be an attempt to represent this knowledge on a small scale. A map of the British Isles from the same atlas shows the development of the Bay of Cardigan. The winds are personified and named. The name of cartographer and date are recorded at the foot of the map.

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