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Archive for September, 2012

Illustrated Maps In History – Desceliers’ Map

 :: Posted by admin on 09-24-2012

Continuing our series about Illustrated Maps in History, let’s take a look at Desceliers’ World Map. This map dates back to the mid 16th century. It was drawn in a style similar to the sea charts of the time, with compass directions and navigational lines being prominent features, but the map itself is not designed to be used as a sea map.
Desceliers’ World Map was created as a display piece for King Henri II of France. It was intended to be shown off on a table in his library, or stored in his curiosities cabinet. The navigational value of the map may be questionable, but as a piece of art it is definitely fit for a king. The map was created in 1550, and King Henri died just nine years later. It’s fortunate that his heirs chose to preserve this map, as it preserves both the knowledge, the artistic style, and the attitudes of the era in which it was created with amazing detail.
This illustrated map of the world was drawn by hand by Pierre Desceliers of the Dieppe School of Cartography. It is a rather large piece, and drawing it with the tools available at the time would have been a challenging undertaking.
The coastal lines on this map are surprisingly accurate for the time period in which it was created, and are a testament to Decelier’s knowledge of navigation and geography. Once you move in-land, the geography is slightly less sound, however. The map paints a picture of the world based partly on observation, and partly on classical sources.
It’s this blend of knowledge and classical geography that makes this map so beautiful. It’s a true insight into a different time period and it stands alone as a Renaissance artwork.

Illustrated Festival Maps – Sanam Luang

 :: Posted by admin on 09-02-2012

Sanam Luang in Bangkok, Thailand, is home to the Thailand Kite Festival. Vasuphon Sanpanich has created a gorgeous illustrated map of the festival. The map shows local landmarks, and gives an overview of the area where the festival is held.
Information about the festival is written in the area around the main park on the map, highlighting that it’s the Traditional Sport of Thailand, and that the celebration involves song, prayer, and the Royal Ploughing ceremony.
The map shows quite clearly what happens at the festival. Participants can be seen flying kites, taking part in prayers, playing games, and enjoying other festivities. The map has a hand-drawn appearance, with bright colours and cartoonish people that are somewhat reminiscent of characters from The Simpsons.
As an example of how an illustrated map could work as an advertisement, Sanpanich’s work is outsanding. The message presented is that the festival is fun for all the family, with plenty of things for people of all ages to enjoy.
The water areas are represented by the familiar two-tone waves that are commonly used in modern illustrated maps. The Royal Garden is lined with bushes, and the vehicles on the road are abstracted just like children’s toys.
Abstraction is an important part of all illustrated campus maps. When a map is made too detailed, it becomes difficult to look at, and if you’re trying to get across a general point, such as “The Royal Garden will be home to a festival, where many activities will take place”, then that point is lost in the details. It takes an incredibly skilled artist to be able to find the perfect balance between abstraction, aesthetics, and clarity.
The only thing that could be considered to be missing from this particular map is a smaller traditional map that explains how a visitor could get to the Royal Garden.