Terra Sancta sive Promissionis, olim Palestina recens delineate, et in lucem edita per Nicolaum Visscher Anno 1659.
By: Nicholas Visscher
Date: 1666 (published) Amsterdam
Original Size: 18.25 x 22 inches (46.4 x 55.9 cm)
This is a fine print reproduction of a marvelous decorative map of the Holy Land by Nicolas Visscher, that set the standard for maps of the Holy Land for quite some time.
The compass orients the map to the right (the West), as are oriented many Holy Land maps, in order to present the region in an easy to read horizontal view rather than vertically. Quite a number of sea-going vessels ply the Mediterranean, from smaller local size varieties to larger European frigates. One ship is shown with an enormous whale alongside, an allusion to the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale. Another is loaded with cedar destined for the construction of King Solomon’s Temple, as is attested by the Latin inscription near the ship.
Inland we see the territories of each of the tribes of Israel colored and named, all easily identifiable. All known cities, towns and settlements are noted, as are major heavily-traveled routes and caravan trails. An inset at center bottom illustrates the encampment of the Tribes in the wilderness surrounding the Tabernacle, flanked by Moses and Aaron.
The elegantly engraved title cartouche is supported by garlands held in place by charming putti. The fishermen emblem of the Visscher firm showing both father and son, is at bottom right decorating the scale of distance.
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What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time.
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