c 1550 TABULA ASIAE XII - Sri Lanka/Sumatra w Elephant - Munster


“TABULA ASIAE XII” Basle:  Sebastian Münster, c. 1550.  Original woodcut engraving. From Münster’s Geographia (ref: Shirley #77-illustrated). (Image: 9 3/4 x 13 1/8'')

Although this map is titled Taprobana (ancient Greek geographers' name for Ceylon), some scholars believe it is actually a depiction of the island of Sumatra. The surrounding islands are located near where Nias, Enggano and Mentawis are relative to Sumatra. The land in the upper-right corner is correct for Malaysia. Several towns and village are located (close to present cities of Lampung, Medan, Sibolga and Banda Aceh. Mountains and waterways are also located - also very near where they are found today. Nonetheless, it is usually catalogued as Ceylon, or modern day Sri Lanka.

To the left of the map is the famous rendering of the Pascua Elephantum (elephant at pasture).

Münster was an eminent Renaissance scholar and map-maker. “The names of three cartographers dominate the 16th century: Mercator, Ortelius and Münster, and of these three Münster probably had the widest influence in spreading geographical knowledge throughout Europe…” (Antique Maps, Moreland & Bannister, p. 78).

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# M-4370