Olaus Magnus’s Sea Monsters

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Olaus Magnus, Carta Marina, 1539. Detail. James Ford Bell Library.

Speaking of map monsters, here’s a piece in the Public Domain Review from 2014 that I only encountered this month. It’s a look at the sea serpents found in Olaus Magnus’s 1539 Carta Marina: “The northern seas of the marine and terrestrial map teem with fantastic sea monsters either drawn or approved by Olaus,” writes the author—none other than Joseph Nigg, who literally wrote the book on the Carta Marina’s sea monsters. [WMS]

Previously: Sea Monsters and the Carta Marina.

A New Academic Book on Renaissance Map Monsters

renaissance-ethnographyA new scholarly book about the use of monsters on early modern maps has been brought to my attention. Surekha Davies’s Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters (Cambridge University Press, June) explores the use of both monsters and indigenous peoples on Renaissance maps. “Giants, cannibals and other monsters were a regular feature of Renaissance illustrated maps, inhabiting the Americas alongside other indigenous peoples. In a new approach to views of distant peoples, Surekha Davies analyzes this archive alongside prints, costume books and geographical writing.” Buy at Amazon. [sourdoughchef]

Previously: Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps.

Sea Monster Shower Curtain

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Retired graphic designer Don Moyer is producing a sea monster shower curtain, inspired by the iconic beasties found on early modern European maps and based on a sea monster print he created last year. It’s a Kickstarter project, but since it’s already been funded, it’s definitely happening. So if your world map shower curtain is beginning to fray, here’s an alternative. [Mental Floss]

The Boston Globe on #MapMonsterMonday

#MapMonsterMonday makes the Boston Globe, in a piece looking at how the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center curates their weekly posts of map monsters on Twitter and Instagram. (An example below.) Though, to be fair, there are several map library Twitter accounts participating in #MapMonsterMonday. [via]

For #MapMonsterMonday, we’re featuring some of the creatures found in our Samuel de Champlain #map that was recently returned after having been so cruelly stolen from us over a decade ago. Though drawn way out of scale, these critters aren’t truly monsters, so we hope you’ll forgive our flagrant flaunting of this treasure of a map; we’re just really, really excited. Champlain’s map of New France included all manner of local flora and fauna, including the sea creatures shown in this detail: a seal, a sculpin, and some sort of monstrous sea-hotdog (quite possibly a sea cucumber- any thoughts, @muhnac @natural_history_museum @nhmla @calacademy?). More great news: the map was quickly digitized by @bplboston’s wonderful digital team and is now available on our website and free to download. Link in profile! #MonsterMonday #SamuelDeChamplain #NewFrance #Canada #NewEngland #GreatLakes #17thcentury #geography #history #naturalhistory #cartography #engraving #intaglio #BPLMaps #BPLBoston #BostonPublicLibrary #library #librariesofinstagram #rarebooks Samuel de Champlain. "Carte Geographique de la Nouvelle France.” Detached from: Les voyages du sieur de Champlain Xaintongeois, capitaine ordinaire pour le roy en la marine. Paris : Iean Berjon, 1613. http://goo.gl/e93wtD

A post shared by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (@bplmaps) on

Bailey Henderson’s Sea Monster Sculptures

Sea monsters are a familiar feature of early modern European maps. Toronto-based sculptor Bailey Henderson has rendered them in real life, casting them in bronze and then painting them. It’s incredible work that really does evoke the original. More details at Hi-Fructose magazine. [via]

For more sea monsters on maps, see my review of Chet Van Duzer’s Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. You should also be aware that #MapMonsterMonday is a thing on Twitter.