Porcacchi, Tomasso

Antique map of Spagnola, or Hispaniola


Antique map of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea


17th century, antique copperplate-engraved map of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, shared by the nations of Haiti and nearby Dominican Republic. In this decorative map numerous mythical sea serpents, and sailing vessels fill empty space in the Caribbean Sea.

Noted points of interest include numerous capes and headlands: Cabo de los Lobos; Cabo de San Rafael; Cabo Arecifes; and the intriguing Punta del Plata e dell Argento. The village of S. Domingo is shown but no habitation is noted in the area of Port Au Prince, haiti.

This small, colorful map was printed in 1686 in one of the last editions of Tomasso Porcacchi's "Isolario" or island book " L'Isol Piu Famose Del Mondo" which was first published in Venice ca. 1572. This 1686 edition is differentiated from earlier versions of Porcacchi's atlas in that 1) it is the only edition where the maps are not set within printed text, and 2) the chart was re-engraved for this edition and the compass rose is less elaborate.

On the compass rose Porcacchi identifies eight points that correspond to the classical eight-point naming convention for Mediterranean winds that dates back at least 2000 years. Porcacchi's compass rose symbols "T", "G", "+" , "S", "O", "L", "P", "M", correspond to the Italian names for the principal Mediterranean winds: Tramontana ( North ), Greco, Levante ( with a cross denoting East ), Sirocco, Ostro ( South ), Libeccio. Ponente ( West ), and Maestro. ( Taylor, E.G.R., "The Haven Finding Art: A History of Navigation from Odysseus to Captain Cook". New York. 1957 (pp. 6-8)

Ample margins and attractive hand-coloring make this antique map of Hispaniola a fine candidate for framing.

CREATOR: Porcacchi, Tomasso


GEOGRAPHIC AREA: Dominican Republic

BODY OF WATER: Caribbean Sea

CONDITION: Good.  Clean and bright on chain laid paper without condition issues. Four tiny wormholes in the margins, well outside the neatline demonstrate the extreme age of this scarce relic.

COLORING: Modern hand-coloring.


SIZE: 7 " x 5 "




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