Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Terra orbitus, T in O maps


For ABC Wednesday's T-Day  let's talk about "T in O maps."

I first learned that term at last month's Jerusalem Green Pilgrimage symposium.
Lecturer Benjie Talor had his Jerusalem in Maps exhibition set up in the passageway and he kindly gave me fascinating facts on each poster.  

The Age of Imagination, 3rd to 13th centuries, saw the earth as a disc.
The terra orbitus, attributed to an 8th century Spanish monk, is one of the earliest conceptual representations of the known world.
Using a T to divide the land masses into Asia, Europe, and Africa, such maps placed Jerusalem in the center.
Their purpose was to emphasize this centrality of Jerusalem and Christianity in the world.
Please enlarge the photo (click once, then again) to get a good look at the medieval examples of world maps.

T in O city maps, graphically influenced by the terra orbitus motif,  made Jerusalem a round city.
Click and enjoy these two 13th century Crusader maps.
One of the ca. dozen map posters ends with this thought:
Yir'ushalem, the organization which produced this exhibition, has attempted to bring forth both the Heavenly and the Earthly Jerusalem within the viewer's grasp.
We have viewed the city from deep within the spiritual beliefs of pilgrims to the view from the heavens, and its centrality for the major monotheistic religions.
Many have tried to paint Jerusalem's portrait, but no artist or cartographer has painted her like the Master of the Universe. 

Concept development--Benjie Tal'or (more about him here and here)
Scientific advisor--Prof. Rehav Rubin (HUJI)
Curator--Yoni Shapira
Graphic designer--Kobi Ariel
Exhibit production--LHS Innovative Projects Ltd.


paul said...

After the age of imagination, the age of enlightenment through your blog. Fascinating story and fascinating art of map making.

Kate said...

Maps, especially those of antiquity, are endless objects of fascination. Must have been great to see and to discuss. Kate, ABC Team

Roger Owen Green said...

Maps are endlessly fascinating.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Nonnie said...

incredibly titillating and fascinating subject!

richies said...

I love old maps, but had never heard of these.
An Arkies Musings

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Another fascinating post. I always learn something reading your blog.

crystal said...

Beautiful medieval artwork in the maps :)

Reader Wil said...

Thank you so much for this post. I understand more and more how important Jerusalem has always been. I am glad that I had the opportunity to see Jerusalem with you. Beautiful T post, Dina. Have a great day.
Wil, ABCW Team.

Rob Siemann said...

Yes, the ancient Tau, symbol for life in passed times

VP said...

Maps are a real passion for me, I am really fascinated by this exhibition!