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Iceland bestiary #4 by Abraham Ortelius

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Series :  Engravings on leather
Year :  2011
Unique ID :  pe.0002.37
Authors :  Pyro Skin A.I.
Frame design :  italian redwood frame
Size :  640 mm x 500 mm
Area shown :  Allegorical engraving

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The ocean is provided with a large number of whales and monsters, which can hardly have accompanied the original. They, along with polar bears, driftwood and sea ice, are marked with the letters A-Q which refer to explanations on the back of the map. Some of the information regarding these creatures may have come originally from Iceland, perhaps from bishop Gudbrandur by way of Vedel, who is given as authority for some of it. This would then have been added to and mixed with foreign fables and inflations. Most of the pictures can be traced originally to Olaus Magnus, though the immediate source is more probably Sebastian Münster, who adopted many of the former´s drawings in his Kosmographia (1544); with minor changes. It is not out of the question that some such drawings may have accompanied bishop Gudbrandur´s map, since he was a most accomplished draughtsman. In the text on the map itself there are various accounts which can probably be traced chiefly to Icelandic tales and superstitions, whether or not they were to be found on the bishop´s own map.   

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