Title :

Ptolemy's chorographia in the New World : revelations from the Relaciones geográficas de la Nueva España of 1579-1581

Author :
MOFFITT, John F. ;
Publication year :
Language :
English ;
Abstract :
The art-historical issue raised here concerns some forgotten formal sources for a distinctive cartographic format once commonly informing European map-making, and the specific proposition examined here in some detail is 'chorographic' description. Our immediate point of departure are those maps called pinturas which accompanied the Relaciones Geográficas de la Nueva España (Mexico) of 1579-81. Modern students of the history of cartography recognize that current knowledge of classical map-making is highly speculative for the lack of any significant surviving examples. Even though the physical products are largely missing, we do know some classical terms for regional to world maps: tabula, forma, figura mundi, orbis pictus, or orbis terrarum descriptio, to which I would like now to add another term, tabulae chorographicae, making reference to a variant cartographic convention for which by far the most complete description is to be found in Ptolemy's Geography (1, 1). From antique textual references, mainly ekphrasis (descriptions) of lost frescoes with landscape scenes, plus some scanty surviving, specifically cartographic evidence, mostly Roman, precise conclusions can now be drawn about that ancient representational mode - the tabulae chorographicae - which, besides describing the fossilized cartographic technique employed in the Mexican pinturas of ca.1571, likely represents an unrecognized functional precedent for the medieval orbis pictus. [Incorporates some discussion of mappemondes]. ;
Pagination/Size :
8 ill. ;
Topic :
French keywords :
Antique (art) ; Carte ; Cartographie ; Ecrits ; Géographie ; Influence ; Mappemonde ; Mexique ; Nouvelle-Espagne ; Ptolémée (Claudius Ptolemaeus), 2e s. ; 1500-1600 ;
Descriptors :
Ancient ; Cartography ; Geography ; Influence ; Mappemondes ; Maps ; Mexico ; New Spain ; Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus), 2d c. ; Writings ; 1500-1600 ;
Document type :
Article ;
Source :
Art history, 1998, 21, 3, Sept
INIST identifier :
24994322 ;
ISSN 0141-6790 ;
Provenance :
Bibliographie d'Histoire de l'Art ;
Publisher :
Routledge & Kegan, Henley-on-Thames
Publisher country :