Mapa Mondi Figura Mondi, 1442 - world map by Giovanni Leardo (oriented with East at the top)
Type of Spiritual Experience
This map was produced in Venice in 1442. The signs of the Zodiac and the months are shown around the edge. This map attempts no geographical representation at all. It is clearly spiritual, but the map creator was not Christian, instead the heavy use of the Zodiac and the months indicates an alchemical or similar background.
One of the reasons for including this map is its reference to ‘dragons’. Giovanni Leardo's map has, in southernmost Africa, "Dixerto dexabitado p. chaldo e p. serpent”.
Few of the other maps I have included show tunnels or dragons etc, but this map does. Thus the other maps confined themselves to soul cones, rivers and paths as well as the ocean, whereeas this also in effect shows portals. There are other maps that show portals, for example …………
- The T-O Psalter map (ca. 1250 AD) has dragons, in a lower "frame" below the world, balancing Jesus and angels on the top, but the dragons do not appear on the map proper.
- The Borgia map (ca. 1430 AD), in the Vatican Library, states, over a dragon-like figure in Asia (in the upper left quadrant of the map), "Hic etiam homines magna cornua habentes longitudine quatuor pedum, et sunt etiam serpentes tante magnitudinis, ut unum bovem comedant integrum." ("Here, indeed, are men who have large horns of the length of four feet, and there are even serpents so large, that they could eat an ox whole.")
- A 19th-century Japanese map, the Jishin-no-ben, depicts a dragon
- The Ebstorf map has a dragon in the extreme south-eastern part of Africa, together with an asp and a basilisk.
- Bishop Olaus Magnus's Carta Marina map of Scandinavia (1539) has a winged, bipedal, predatory land animal resembling a dragon in northern Lapland