This woodcut map, Terza Ostro Tavola, by Giacomo Gastaldi, was published in 1554 by Giovanni Battista Ramusio in the second issue of the first volume of his three-volume Navigationi e Viaggi (Navigations and Travels). The woodblock from which this map was printed, was destroyed in a fire in 1557 and in the following edition of Navigationi, the maps were produced using replacement copperplates.
Ramusio’s publication won raves for the updated maps and travel descriptions which he wrote by carefully interpreting and integrating the notes of the latest explorers. An avid geographer and student of travel writing and cartography, Ramusio is credited with producing a work that reflected exploration contemporaneous with his time rather than a more typical product that simply reproduced outdated materials.
Sometimes referred to as the upside down map, it is oriented to the south rather than the north. According to Frederic Durand and Richard Curtis in Maps of Malaysia and Borneo, the orientation follows the conventions of Arab cartographers, although that does not explain why Ramusio chose to publish it that way. This map is famous for having the first reference to the Philippines (Filipina). Japan is labeled Cympagu.
When held to the light, a well-formed water mark appears. The anchor in a circle topped by a star, was common to paper made in Italy during the first half of the 16th century. In addition, there is a mark speculatively called a merchant’s mark. The Gravell Watermark Archive which is online, has two examples of documents with both of these marks. One is dated 1531 from Venice (item 460.1), and the second is dated 1533 from Udino (item Anchor.461.1). The source cited for this information is Briquet, Charles Moïse. Les Filigranes: Dictionnaire Historique des Marques du Papier Dés Leur Apparition vers 1282 jusqu’en 1600. Paris: A. Picard & fils, 1907.
An earlier conservation effort to shore up tears to the gutter left vertical puckering. There is some remaining cellophane adhesion at the bottom edge where a piece of tape had been. The map had been backed with silk so has not had exposure to acid with the exception of the matte on the front which left a very light shadow. Two pieces of tape on the upper back were attached as part of the framing. They are holding fast. The back shows light pencil marks possibly made by the framer including the word Ramusio. The number 602 is lightly penciled on one of the back corners. The paper is beautifully white with no tears with exception of the repairs made to the fold.
Measurement map: 15.25 x 11 inches 387 x 280 mm
Measurement page: 17.125 x 12.25 inches 434 x 312 mm
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