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Details about  1708 (1661) CELLARIUS Celestial Map Southern Sky + Americas CALIFORNIA AS ISLAND

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1708 (1661) CELLARIUS Celestial Map Southern Sky + Americas CALIFORNIA AS ISLAND
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Item condition:
--not specified
Apr 05, 2013
US $2,995.00
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Item location:
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States


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Last updated on  Jan 18, 2013 19:13:53 PST  View all revisions

Haemisphaerium Stellatum Australe Cum Aequali Sphaerarum Proportione

50.5 cm x 42.5 cm copperplate engraving, 59 cm x 50 cm sheet size, original hand colour, Valk & Schenk, Amsterdam, engraved 1661, printed 1708

We are pleased to offer this scarce original celestial chart (Van der Krogt # HM29.1.2, Burden # 347) compiled by Andreas Cellarius (1596-1665) for his magnificent star atlas Harmonia Macrocosmica, widely regarded as the ne plus ultra of celestial mapping from the Golden Age of Dutch cartography.  Of the eight constellation plates that appeared in the atlas, this presentation of southern constellations is arguably the most sought-after owing to its planisphere underlay featuring an insular California.  Nick Kanas in his fine study of celestial charts Star Maps - History Artistry and Cartography observes that the 41.6 cm diameter planisphere provides an oblique view of the constellations which are externally oriented.  Thus "below" the constellations we find the terrestrial map extending from much of what is now the United States (including that famous Island of California!), all of Central and South America and a large "Terra Australis Incognita" in the south polar region.  The constellations themselves are derived from the work of the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) and the chart includes his unique creations such as Pavo the Peacock, the Toucan, Grus the Crane, the Chamaeleon, Triangulum Australe (Southern Triangle), Apis Indica (Bird of Paradise), Indus the Indian, Musca the Bee and Hydra the small water snake.  The classical constellation figures are of course present as well along with the zodiac figures of Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and parts of Virgo and Pisces on the periphery of the sphere.  Angels and putti present the chart title in two banners in the upper corners while two "Titan" figures support the sphere as learned astronomers and scholars look on in the vignettes in the lower corners.  The chart exhibits fine original colour with the green in particular exhibiting a deep patina and leaves the outer vignettes uncoloured which was typical of the time of publication - examples of the chart will full colour in the outer vignettes are almost always from the modern era.  This is of course the Valk and Schenk imprint of the plate and this example is in absolutely superb condition as can be ascertained from photos; a strong impression with distinct platemark and an essentially pristine image area.  A true "trophy map"; this chart will make a cornerstone addition to any collection and a superb presentation if matted and framed.

We begin our survey of the chart with the insular California - here Cellarius turned to Plancius for the terrestrial mapping as well, basing the cartography on his globe gores from the year 1614 (Polk 42c) which shows a separation of the "island" near where Cape Mendocino should appear with a notation at the northernmost shore of a Point Sir Francis Drake.  Overlaying the insular California is the constellation of Engonasi (literally "Kneeling Man") the traditional representation of Hercules, who although upside down from this persepctive holds his traditional club aloft.  Vega appears in the left wing of Lyra (keeping in mind external orientation of constellations) which overlays much of what is now the central United States while the neck of Cygnus passes from the Atlantic over the southeast.  Note well defined Florida peninsula.  Constellation orientation of the chart can also be observed in Aquila and Delphinus both looking to the right instead of the left as they are depicted in Urania's Mirror.  Meanwhile a muscular Ophiuchus wrestles with his serpent as the "Tigris" and "Euphrates" of stars flows through the chart.  Note that terrestrial map names Darién in Panama (actually Santa María la Antigua del Darién) which would be the site of the Scottish colonisation debacle several decades after the plate was engraved:

Heading further south we find the west coast of South America quite accurately charted and encounter the zodiac figures of Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn.  To get a sense of the extraordinary engraving work consider that the distance from Veracruz in Mexico (La Vera Cruz) to Quito (just below equator) as seen below measures just 7 cm actual size.  Note Centaurus transporting the skewered Lupus to Ara the altar:

Moving further south still we encounter the great unknown southern continent and meet many of Plancius's fanciful constellations including a particularly fine Pavo the Peacock, a well drawn Toucan (aka Tucana) and near the south pole Chamaeleon and Apus (Apis Indica).  Phoenix is seen rising from the ashes while the smoke from the altar of Ara was said to be the Milky Way:

Rounding out the southern assemblage is a finely rendered Argo Navis (note detailed rigging) while the densely engraved lines surrounding the latitudinal intersection point make for a distinct "3D" effect.  Note addition of Valk and Schenk's names to the map border - otherwise no change was made to the original plate for this imprint:

Putti and an angel present the right title banner while we see just the feet and gowns of Virgo above scattered Pacific islands:

A similar assemblage presents the other title banner above the winged Pegasus and the colt Equuleus:

Figures at right are probably meant to denote from Tycho Brahe (third from right), Ptolemy and possibly Galileo:

This "Titan" is assisted by a putto "Titan in Training":

Condition - Please note carefully:  The chart - more than three centuries old - is in overall excellent condition as can be ascertained from photos, strong impression with distinct platemark on fine laid paper with watermark, image area essentially pristine, no text on verso, inobtrusive centrefold as issued, full margins with scattered trivial soiling along edges.  In all, a very fine example of a much sought-after map that will make an elegant presentation if matted and framed.  Inquiries welcome and we encourage you to visit our other listings on eBay.
Note: Final auction price includes insured shipment within continental United States. All other customers to pay actual shipping costs via traceable means including full insurance.  International buyers are wholly responsible for any applicable customs fees, duties or taxes upon receipt; these charges are NOT included in shipping charges or unit price.   International buyers should verify what charges would apply to any resultant transaction with customs officials in their countries prior to bidding.   Such charges are typically collected by the courier, e.g. FedEx, and are NOT additional shipping or handling fees.  

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In response to frequent inquiries, please be advised that the terms engraving, lithograph, woodcut etc. as used in our auction descriptions denote a PRINT, i.e. an image printed on a sheet of paper, and that all such items are unconditionally guaranteed to be original and authentic - we never offer reproductions. Please see our glossary for definitions of terminology used in our auction descriptions.   
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"Some to beautify their halls, parlours and chambers... liketh, loveth, getteth, and useth maps, charts, and geographical globes" - John Dee (1527-1608)
"...Maps begin as dreams, pass through a finite life in the world, and resume as dreams again..," - Thomas Pynchon


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