Map. Pen and ink with watercolor. Sheet measures 8.75 x 7".
This minimalist schoolgirl and schoolboy manuscript map depicts European Russia. Although unlabeled, the region is easily identifiable. The Black Sea and the northern half of the Caspian Sea are included near the bottom of the map. Covers the modern day nations of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and parts of Poland and Sweden. The eastern boundary is placed along the Ural Mountains. The map is in good condition with minor wear along the original centerfold and some foxing. An image of a skull is drawn in pencil at the center of the map.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.