Leaf from Sebastian Münster’s 'Cosmographia'


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1544. Original framed leaf from Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia with woodcut illustration. A Witch entwined with a serpent, her left arm the vessel for its coiling form.

A framed-leaf from the first edition of published in 1544. Text in German. A4 size. Slight foxing around the edges, very good condition.

The Cosmographia by Sebastian Münster is the earliest German-language description of the world, an encyclopaedia of the world as Europeans knew it in 1544. Its descriptions of far off places are illustrated with pictures and maps. Münster was the first map-maker to make separate maps of each continent. He was also the first to list the sources he used. These included other maps, books and explorers’ reports. Münster’s legacy is wrapped up in his Cosmographia, a book that managed the rare feat of being both scientific and popular. It revolutionised how 16th century readers thought about the physical world. Numerous editions were published in different languages including Latin, French, Italian, English, and Czech. It passed through 24 editions in 100 years. This success was partly due to the notable woodcuts by Hans Holbein, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel.’