Map. Uncolored engraving. Image measures 11.25" x 14". 1640.
This imaginative world map by Franz Ritter, often referred to as the "Sundial Map," constitutes one of the most creative--if not bizarre--map projections proposed in the early 17th century. At a time when cartographers throughout Europe were devising new ways to depict the world on paper, Ritter, a German astronomer, first came up with this idea in 1610.
This map is the second state, printed in 1640. It is projected from the North Pole, such that the land masses around it are laid out as if on the table of a sundial. In fact, Ritter developed the map to function specifically with regard to his home city of Nuremberg by drawing the Tropic of Capricorn to follow the shadow that the dial would cast at Nuremberg's latitude. The resulting map looks distorted, with lands increasing in size as they are further away from the Pole, but it actually maintains correct mathematical scale.
Nonetheless, the projection failed to catch on, making this curious map the only known sundial projection. As such, it remains a beautiful and fascinating document of 17th century cartography. Continents, countries, cities and rivers are all labeled. Land masses are outlined crisply, and the expanded space of the southern continents created by the projection is filled with pictorial mountains and indigenous creatures. Ships, animals, and mythological beings also populate the seas.
At the bottom of the map is a fine compass rose labeled with the winds. A rectangular floral frame includes the cardinal directions. The map is in excellent condition with narrow margins and no chips or tears. Dark impression.
Franz Ritter was a German astronomer and mathematician who applied his knowledge of astrolabes and sundials to the art of cartography. His rare work is a prized item for any map collector.