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Early Modern Personifications of the Continents
Since antiquity, artists have visualized the known world through the female (sometimes male) body. In the age of exploration, America was added to figures of Europe, Asia, and Africa who would come to inhabit the borders of geographical visual imagery. In the abundance of personifications in print, painting, ceramics, tapestry, and sculpture, do portrayals vary between hierarchy and global human dignity? Are we witnessing the emergence of ethnography or of racism? Yet, as this volume shows, depictions of bodies as places betray the complexity of human claims and desires. Bodies and Maps: Early Modern Personifications of the Continents opens up questions about early modern politics, travel literature, sexualities, gender, processes of making, and the mobility of forms and motifs.

Contributors are: Louise Arizzoli, Elisa Daniele, Hilary Haakenson, Elizabeth Horodowich, Maryanne Cline Horowitz, Ann Rosalind Jones, Paul H. D. Kaplan, Marion Romberg, Mark Rosen, Benjamin Schmidt, Chet Van Duzer, Bronwen Wilson, and Michael Wintle.
Author: Nadja Danilenko
In Picturing the Islamicate World, Nadja Danilenko explores the message of the first preserved maps from the Islamicate world. Safeguarded in al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms (10th century C.E.), the world map and twenty regional maps complement the text to a reference book of the territories under Muslim rule. Rather than shaping the Islamicate world according to political or religious concerns, al-Iṣṭakhrī chose a timeless design intended to outlast upheavals. Considering the treatise was transmitted for almost a millennium, al-Iṣṭakhrī’s strategy seems to have paid off. By investigating the Persian and Ottoman translations and all extant manuscripts, Nadja Danilenko unravels the manuscript tradition of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work, revealing who took an interest in it and why.
Author: Ernesto Capello
Mountains appear in the oldest known maps yet their representation has proven a notoriously difficult challenge for map makers. In this essay, Ernesto Capello surveys the broad history of relief representation in cartography with an emphasis on the allegorical, commercial and political uses of mapping mountains. After an initial overview and critique of the traditional historiography and development of techniques of relief representation, the essay features four clusters of mountain mapping emphases. These include visions of mountains as paradise, the mountain as site of colonial and postcolonial encounter, the development of elevation profiles and panoramas, and mountains as mass-marketed touristed itineraries.
Representations of Venice and the Venetian Terraferma in the Renaissance
Author: Sandra Toffolo
In Describing the City, Describing the State Sandra Toffolo presents a comprehensive analysis of descriptions of the city of Venice and the Venetian Terraferma in the Renaissance, when the Venetian mainland state was being created. Working with an extensive variety of descriptions, the book demonstrates that no one narrative of Venice prevailed in the early modern European imagination, and that authors continuously adapted geographical descriptions to changing political circumstances. This in turn illustrates the importance of studying geographical representation and early modern state formation together. Moreover, it challenges the long-standing concept of the myth of Venice, by showing that Renaissance observers never saw the city of Venice and the Venetian Terraferma in a monolithic way.
In: Describing the City, Describing the State
In: Describing the City, Describing the State
In: Describing the City, Describing the State
In: Describing the City, Describing the State
In: Describing the City, Describing the State
In: Describing the City, Describing the State