Anthropomorphic Maps and the

Human Shape of the Holy Land

Chapter 6 - Modern Anthropomorphic Maps

 

The German Sebastian Munster was one of the senior cartographers of his time. While other map makers limited themselves in their descriptions to maps of continents and states, Munster showed also cities and interested places. He offered an Encyclopedia of data about the world. Munster was a man of universal knowledge: Historian, Mathematician and Linguistic. He started his academic career as a Hebrew teacher.

 

Munster  Europe as a woman  16th century

Munster Europe as a woman 16th century

West is in the upper side of the picture and Spain is the head

 

 

The European anthropomorphic maps genre developed and single states became the subjects.

 

A map of the Low Lands as a lion  16th century

A map of the Low Lands as a lion 16th century

 

England as a man riding on a whale  18th century

England as a man riding on a whale 18th century

 

 

The artist William Harvey created in the 19th century a full atlas of anthropomorphic maps under the title: "Geographical Fun. Humorous Outlines of Various Countries." The atlas was published in 1869 and included 12 maps of European countries, each with a unique character. Harvey's aim was educational: to help young students with the tedious task of Geography learning.

 

William Harvey - Ireland William Harvey -  Russia

William Harvey - Ireland and Russia as anthropomorphic map - 1869

 

 

An Internet site presents coloring pages for children with states maps as faces of unique characters.

 

Australia  as a coloring map India  as a coloring map

Australia and India as coloring maps

 

 

The increased amount of anthropomorphic maps raises the question of their creditability. Although the total number of anthropomorphic maps is not big, it is possible to find two different descriptions of the same place. The criterion for ruling in this matter is the level of correlation with the terrain.

 

Gustav Dore, 1854  Russia as an old woman

Gustav Dore, 1854 Russia as an old woman

A contradiction with the bear in Harvey's picture

 

 

 

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