Allegorical, Dissected and Spiritual

Writing in Commonplace, Janet Moore Lindman looks at the use of spiritual maps in early America, focusing in particular on a curious 1794 combination of dissected map (a jigsaw-like map puzzle) and allegorical map (where  virtues or vices or other abstract ideals are depicted as countries on a map) produced for the education of Quaker children.

The production of Dillwyn’s allegorical map was unusual for Friends who disdained the visual arts as worldly and pernicious. Quaker abhorrence of art makes this image singular at the same time it demonstrates their adaptability to a new mode of educational instruction. Yet Quaker plainness was retained. Dillwyn’s map made use of little color, had few illustrations, contained no human figures, and relied heavily on the written word to convey meaning.