Venice: Nicolo Zoppino, 1528. ,73 leaves, including four double-page maps and two single-page maps, and numerous woodcut maps and plans in the text. A few leaves misnumbered. Small folio. 18th-century vellum, spine gilt, leather label. Boards and spine moderately soiled, leather label abraded. Titlepage printed in red and black with text printed inside decorative woodcut border. Slight age- toning and occasional foxing. Small worm holes in first thirty leaves, barely affecting a few printed characters on each page. A very good copy. Item #WRCAM48356
The first edition of one of the earliest and most comprehensive works on the islands of the world, and a tremendous achievement of world cartography. Compared to the first work on world islands, or "Isolario," by Sonetti (circa 1485), which contained only forty-nine maps, the 105 maps and plans included in Bordone's effort mark a dramatic improvement in the attempt to map all known islands. Because of the rapid advances being made in the exploration of the New World, Bordone was able to include new cartographic representations of the north coast of South America, a substantial portion of New World island groups, and a new, dramatic rendering of the entire world.
The map of the unnamed north coast of South America represents an early close illustration of what the Spanish referred to as "Terra Firma" and what would later comprise a large portion of the Spanish Main. Only four place names are given on the mainland: "Chanchite," "Cuztana," "Mazatambal," and "Paria," located in the Guianas. To the north lie Jamaica and Hispaniola, along with a cluster of other, most likely fictional, islands. The surrounding text describes Columbus' forays in the region, a menacing island of cannibals, and more.
The West Indies and other islands off the coast of the Americas are treated in considerable detail. Jamaica, Hispaniola, Cuba, Guadeloupe, and Martinique are each represented in a separate map, while two additional maps of island groups show Antigua, St. Martin, Santo Domingo, Rodonda, Montserrat, a fictional island representation of Brazil, and others. Like many works of this genre, the text includes lengthy treatments of each island, complete with brief histories and fantastical myths.
The famous oval world map shows all of the known regions of the globe. Europe, Africa, and Asia Major are clearly labeled; but North and South America remain "terra del laboratore" and "ponete modo novo (part of the new world)" respectively, despite following by twenty-one years Martin Waldseemüller's assertion that the new lands ought to be called "America" after Amerigo Vespucci. The map of "Ciampagu" is considered by some to be the earliest known map of Japan printed in Europe. "For a long time Bordone's world map was cited as the first drawn on an oval projection, prior to the discovery of Francesco Rosselli's map of c. 1508 using this form of construction. References within Bordone's book indicate that he had been occupied on its compilation for many years prior to publication...His 1528 map is undoubtedly based on Rosselli's oval one although there are several points of difference; for instance the omission of all antarctic lands and the separation of Asia and America. Rosselli's truncated form of South America is retained" - Shirley.
Bordone did not limit himself to the creation of excellent maps for the use of contemporary navigators and explorers. The view of Mexico City, captioned "La Gran Citta di Temistitan," is one of the best early representations of the city, originally surrounded by water, before its destruction by Cortés. Numerous similar efforts that followed Bordone's work displayed an increasingly insular view of the North American continent, making his publication considerably accurate for its time.
A beautifully produced book and a cornerstone of early Americana. HARRISSE 145. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 528/2. SABIN 6417. SANZ 1003. BORBA DE MORAES, pp.98-99. PHILLIPS ATLASES 162. JCB (3)I:98-99. SHIRLEY, MAPPING OF THE WORLD 59. KRAUS, WORLD ENCOMPASSED 83. BURDEN, MAPPING OF NORTH AMERICA 8. SUAREZ, SHEDDING THE VEIL 18. LeCLERC 181. RODRIGUES 426-27.