The Hereford Mappa Mundi is the oldest most famous world map known to exist and is the grandest medieval map known. It was created sometime between 1280 AD and 1300 AD and Jerusalem is at the center of the map. Images of mankinds history and natural wonders of the world were drawn in and it reveals how thirteenth century scholars viewed the world in religious and geographical ways. This map has deep ties to the Hereford Cathedral in England where it is on display.
When it was first created it was housed in a wooden triptych some 10 feet wide, and would probably have been displayed in a prominent place in the cathedral, an aid to devotion and instruction.
Initially regarded with reverence, in the centuries that followed its creation the Hereford World Map fell into disuse. At one point perhaps during the Civil War - it was stored under the floor of the cathedrals Audley Chapel. Worse was to follow. In the 1780s the wings of the triptych were destroyed or lost, and in the early 19th century the map was found under a pile of lumber. In 1855 it was taken to the British Museum, where the back panel of the original triptych was removed and mislaid; it was only rediscovered in the 1980s. Although various repairs were undertaken, including patches added in the 19th century and parchment strip edge repair in 1948, many of these actually caused further distortions.
The Hereford World Map was created by a group of gifted craftsmen and artists. Detailed analysis of the techniques used reveal the hand of a professional scribe (writing both in Anglo-Norman and Latin), at least one artist who drew outlines, another to outline in ink and add colour, and possibly others who drew rivers, mountain ranges and the decorative foliage border. Finally, a professional limner added display lettering in gold in a beautiful Lombardic script. The map was created from a single calf skin of exceptional size and quality, specially treated to preserve its luminous finish. From this splendid base to the carved oak triptych in which the map was displayed, everything about its production suggests an exacting, expensive process that took a year or more to conclude.
This image has been upsized to make larger prints available.
May 19th, 2014
Viewed 103 Times - Last Visitor from Cupertino, CA on 08/28/2019 at 4:04 AM