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First published in 1606, Blaeu's world map is one of the foremost examples of ornamentation and decoration during the Golden Age of Dutch cartography. This map had a long life, and was reissued numerous times, in four states, over the next 50 years. The map's rectangular shape and regular grid of latitude and longitude lines indicate that Blaeu used Gerard Mercator's cylindrical projection which was first introduced in 1569. Included in this map is the geographical information that was reduced from a large wall map published by Blaeu in 1605. As is characteristic of the Mercator projection, the sizes and shapes of land masses in the polar regions were greatly exaggerated. The hallmark of this map is its elaborate ornamentation. Not only were the blank areas of the map, particularly in the oceans, decorated with ships, sea monsters, and compass roses, the border panels cover a variety of topics. Across the top the engraver placed allegorical representations of the sun and moon as well as the five known planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The four basic elements -- Fire, Air, Water, and Land -- were illustrated on the left panel, while the four seasons were depicted on the right panel. The seven wonders of the ancient world were displayed in the oval insets along the bottom margin.
The physical item is not available at the Boston Public Library.