Map. Pen and ink with watercolor. Image measures 7 x 8.5".
This beautifully hand colored schoolgirl or schoolboy manuscript map of Canaan and Palestine (Israel or Holy Land) covers from Arish in northern Sinai north beyond Beirut. The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are included. Essentially two maps on the same sheet, the left hand map depicts the region as it existed during Biblical times, when it was called Canaan. The Twelve Tribes of Israel are identified along with ancient place names. Topography is beautifully rendered.
The right hand side map covers the same region, but is not labeled except for the title 'Palestine'. Territorial divisions are color coded. The map is in good condition with vivid hand color. On thin paper, with minor foxing and toning. Top margin with some manuscript text cut off.
This map dates to circa 1880 and was most likely made by a student or apprentice as training in geography, drafting, and penmanship. Manuscript map-making was a useful educational tool in the 19th century, a period of imperialism and increased world trade in which geography grew significantly as a field of study.
In the United States and northwestern Europe, reform movements that sought to improve the quality and accessibility of childhood education pushed for the inclusion of geography in school curricula. One common method of teaching was the making of manuscript maps. Working from wall maps, globes, and atlases, students were made to meticulously hand-reproduce maps in pen and ink and with watercolor. Such exercises not only provided a way to review and retain geographical knowledge, but they also functioned as training in penmanship, calligraphy, and drafting. This map is a lovely document that straddles the line between art and geography.