London: Tallis, John, 1851.
Map. Steel engraving with modern coloring. Image measures 10 3/4" x 14 1/8".
This map of Independent Tartary offers both geographical and cultural overviews. Covers the regions between the Caspian Sea and the Chinese Empire, once part of the ancient Silk Route. Including modern day nations of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The region is abundantly labeled with the names of cities, rivers and ancient kingdoms. The decorative vignettes around the map amplify the cultural milieu perceived at the time. These include Tartars on a journey, a Tartar camp site and a view of The Bride Chase, a curious marriage custom of the Tartars. Although marriage ceremonies varied among tribes, one such custom was for the lover to pursue the bride on horseback. He is accompanied by several friends who pretend to participate in the race, but are careful to always keep a little behind the groom-to-be. Sometimes the bride carried the body of a lamb, which the bridegroom is expected to take from her during the chase. In this particular view, the bride seems to be riding without a lamb. The whole is surrounded by a beautiful floral border. The map is from R. Montgomery's "Illustrated Atlas and Modern History of the World." It is in good condition, with closed tears along centerfold reinformed by conservation tape.
John Tallis Jr. (1817-1876) was a London born bookseller who continued the prolific map publishing company started by his father. After a partnership with his brother, Tallis Jr. expanded the business to New York in 1849 as well as Boston, Cincinnati, Rochester, Philadelphia and Baltimore. He is remembered as one of the last decorative map makers, and this lovely map exemplifies his work.
Illustrator: RAPKIN, John