Catalan World Atlas | 9 Maps That Have Shaped The World

Catalan World Atlas

This beautiful, illustrated atlas was made by Abraham Cresques of the Majorcan School of Cartography and contains texts in the Catalan language about cosmography, astronomy and astrology that emphasize the Earth's spherical shape. They also provide information to mariners on tides and how to tell time at night. The Catalan Atlas originally consisted of 6 vellum leaves painted in various colours including gold and silver. The Catalan Atlas is read with the north at the bottom, a new feature in cartography. As a result of this the maps are oriented from left to right, from the Far East to the Atlantic. The first two leaves, forming the oriental portion of the Catalan Atlas, illustrate numerous religious references as well as a synthesis of medieval mappae mundi (Jerusalem located close to the centre) and the travel literature of the time, notably Marco Polo's Book of Marvels and the Travels and Voyage of Sir John Mandeville. It is preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

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