Tapestries: An Exploration of World Maps

Reprinted from an article directory. I couldn’t resist posting information about maps in history.

Article by: Angela Dawson-Field

People have always been curious about the world around them and the development of maps has echoed this historical fascination. Maps were once considered to be valuable objects and were treasured by their owners and regarded as works of art in their own right. These objects attracted the attention of artists as well as skilled draughtsmen and maps became quite ornate and decorative items, capturing the imagination of those who wondered what lay beyond the horizon.

Early maps tended to reflect what people knew or remembered and were largely topographical in nature. Often, these early pieces depicted myth and lore, combining to create “living maps” that were passed form generation to generation. Formalising the topography into early maps, knowledge became standardised and sowed the foundation of early cartography.

By the Middle Ages cartography had slowed in that accuracy became replaced by religious depiction through maps. Examples of strong belief can be seen in some maps where the Holy Land is shown to be at the centre of the earth. Another example is Europa Regina by Johannes Bucius which shows an early and elongated map, depicting Europe as the Queen of the World.

The Age of Seafaring during the 16th and 17th centuries saw new interest in map making, particularly the British and the Dutch taking to the seas and exploring new lands. At this time maps became increasingly artistic. An East Indies map in tropical colouring with pineapple trees and other exotic flora and fauna, designed to capture the imagination and evoke the scent of spice in the air is a typical example. As the demand for cartographers grew in the 17th century the artistic nature of maps from a purely functional item to a work of art began to evolve.

Maps were often decorated elaborately with sea creatures or mythical characters. Many of these very accomplished draughtsmen created quite unique works of art from map making. Maps designed by Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) or Abraham Ortelius (1528-1598) were frequently found embellished with intricate pictorial content. A successor to Abraham Ortelius was the Dutch cartographer Jan Baptist Vrients (1552-1612) who designed Obis Terrae Compendosia. The world is split into two hemispheres and surrounded by ornate and detailed pictorial decoration. The map brings a perception of how the world looks and a plethora of exotic creatures and landscapes from the far flung shores of the globe.

Another famous example is Nova Totius Terrarum, designed by Henricus Hondius (1597-1622), a Dutch Cartographer. This 17th century map is an ornate depiction of the world and is surrounded by detailed nautical scenes, perhaps reflecting the age and drama of exploration by sea as mythical creatures rise from the ocean and men are seen contemplating their journey.

Antique maps are increasingly popular in the modern home and make elaborate tapestries in home décor. There are a number of ways in which an antique map can add charm and elegance to the home, whether in poster, print or tapestry format and are much appreciated by connoisseurs of good taste.

Copyright © The Tapestry House, all rights reserved.

About the Author: Angela Dawson-Field writes extensively on home
decor and tapestry & textile art. The Tapestry House
http://www.thetapestryhouse.com/products/index.html
http://www.thetapestryhouse.com/

Source: Reprint this free article (318215) by Angela Dawson-Field at Isnare.com Free Articles Directory

Happy B-Day Zack

To a Nephew, Born During a Mexican Hurricane

A hurricane welcomed you into this world
Winds have pushed you along from a tow-headed toddler
to 2 diet Cokes and 2 freezies, chips and dip and the newspaper.
A boy who looked for magical creatures with me.
A boy getting tall, stronger and not so much a boy any more.

I remember you. I watch you.
Your life has been a part of my life.
You grow fast, the speed of wind.

So many things I could tell you, talk to you about.
I’ve seen all kinds of storms, rainy days, snowy afternoons
If I could give you all of it, like a book to read, I would
But, life comes in steps and you have to take each one yourself.
Still, you’re never facing the wind alone.

I can block some of the wind while you check your map
Remind you to bring a coat, wear your boots.
Feed you and keep you and watch your hurricane blow.

Scrolling Saturday: April 2005.

For Scrolling Saturday I have unearthed this old post:

Maps for Road Tripping April 29, 2005

I love road trips, the campier, the crazier and the longer – the better. To overly plan a road trip is to spoil it. You may have an ultimate destination but it’s the journey that really counts. Take time to get lost. Wander. Make frequent stops for no good reason. Coffee, knickknacks, tourist traps, farmers markets, flea markets, fresh honey, odd road signs, adventure and other things so essential to life yet so often overlooked for lack of ‘time’.

You may wonder why a road tripper ever needs a map. Let alone a collection of them. I do love them, they make the trip that much more fun. Mainly, you absolutely must have the backroad maps to wherever you may be wandering. Should you get hopelessly lost (lucky you!), as you’re laughing, sipping roadside coffee and wondering how you ended up so far to the left, a good road map will be your guide to possible alternative routes. Never take the map seriously though. There are always glitches. You’ll find them as you drive along and realize the map never had this road or that turn or that dead end approaching right in front of your car bumper. That is the odd thing about maps, they are imperfect but trying so hard to be correct. Maps are friendly and confused, so very likeable.

I think of maps as those drawings from the early explorers. Those men who trekked out to places completely unknown and tried to draw a guide to what they were seeing. Not just flora and fauna but rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys and everything else they stumbled upon. Ancient explorers were the earliest road trippers. Before cars, there were ships. Before ships there were horses. Before horses there were just people walking around wishing they knew how long it was to the next grocery store for snackage. No, just kidding, you knew there were no grocery stores back then, right?

The first maps were wonky. They didn’t have perspective and distances were not measured equally. Now we have science which has given us exacting measurements and the tools to create beautifully detailed maps. Cartography and related sciences are things modern road tripping types can be grateful for. Think of them next time you’re looking for the right house on the right street in the right town.

Now, go, take your itchy feet, let the wanderlust possess you. Take along a map, it’s like a good friend who will never laugh at your navigational skills.
Road Map Collectors Association
International Map Collector’s Society
History of Cartography

Trapped in my Own Time and Space Machine

Sometimes typing flies along and I feel like I’m painting a picture and not typing at all any more. Words flow directly from some place in my brain to the keyboard. I can feel my fingers brush the keys and I hear the clicking as they hit down but it seems they aren’t really there and I’m imprinting my thoughts right into the page I see in front of me.

I didn’t get out today. I did some writing, not enough. Not enough to sell for money, nothing completed. It’s frustrating. When I want to write I get sidetracked all too easily. But, it’s because I don’t know where I’m supposed to go. There isn’t a map showing roads and interesting tourist traps along the way. It’s uncharted territory and I don’t know how to steer this car. I don’t mind the unknown and the mystery of it. I like unplanned side trips when I’m in the car, the real car.

I think I’m having a problem cause I’ve made this too important. It’s not easy to take that first step when you’ve blown it into a massive project which must be perfect and attain the right standards. I can see the end I want but I have no map to get through the middle and I feel trapped and lost at the same time.

Some of it I blame on my past life as a daughter. My Dad was abusive (which shames me cause I actually care) and my Mother would try to make up for it by doing too much for us and trying to smooth it over. It’s so unfair. I wish she could have stayed truer to herself. She is a great Mother, strong and caring and independent. She wouldn’t have become as she did if my Dad had been different. In my early life I was trapped between one parent who made me feel like a loser and another who make me feel I couldn’t change anything on my own. It’s so not who I am. Yet, it is a trap I’ve never yet gotten out of. I tried to read the right books, failed of course. Failed to finish or really start the books and failed to find the right magic words that would give me all the right magic answers to solve everything and let me take back my life.

I’ve got my idea for the book I want to write. I’ve taken several stabs at it. It’s getting nowhere though. It’s all in little bits and pieces on my hard drive and in my head. I don’t have a plan though I’ve tried to find one.

I think I am going to try finding another writer group, yet I don’t see that being much help. I don’t talk about any of this to anyone. It’s too embarrassing. It makes me feel I’m asking for sympathy and trying to convince everyone I’m an even bigger loser than I think I am. I don’t think I’m a loser you see. I don’t believe it anyway.

It’s tough living in my head. At least I’m never lonely up there. Plenty of conversations going on.

Well, back to writing. Or, if the elephants upstairs would get to bed before 2:00am I could go to bed early tonight and I’d like that. I don’t like listening to them scraping chairs, yelling and stomping over my head while I lie in bed. I keep wondering if that floor will just cave in suddenly and I’ll wind up having them just drop in. They certainly seem to be making every effort to do so.

The Outback of Ontario


I’m about to venture forth into the Outback. I had planned to get out for breakfast this morning but now it’s 11:00am and breakfast will no longer be served without an extra dollar or so added. So that plan is done for. That’s ok, there are more options for luncheon places anyway. Now that my favourite place closed there really isn’t a great place to go out for breakfast in town.

I was thinking to drive out somewhere a bit. Maybe. It would be nice to get out and I’m not coughing and sneezing nearly as much now. I don’t think I could be a germ spreader still. I will be nice and careful too.

There are a few destinations in the realm of not so far away. I thought I would look at an online map for anything new I had forgotten. Do you know there is Southern Ontario, Nothern Ontario and the GTA? Well there are. However, here in the area north of the GTA and yet not north enough to be Northern Ontario we are kind of lost from the named map areas. We are on the map, don’t think we lack importance. But, we don’t have a real name when it comes to the direction stuff. So, I have decided to call this the Outback of Ontario.

Mainly because we are out back from just about every city known to people in Ontario. We are out back of Toronto. We are out back of Barrie and we are certainly out back of London and Orangeville and those towns. You can’t really say we are out back from Peterborough cause there is a lake in the way. You’d have to drive around it to get here so it’s not quite out back, according to me.