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Cosmographia Universale: Horribilita della Balene

Major collection: Hart Nautical
Named collection: Allan Forbes Collection
Object type: woodcut
Maker: Birckman, Arnold
Place made: Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne
Date made: 1575
Materials: ink; laid paper
Measurements: 12 in x 8 1/4 in
Nomenclature: natural history
Classification: whales

Page from the book "Cosmographia Universale" with a description of "Animali mostruosi nella Norduuegia" (Monstrous animals of Norway; note the use of "uu" for "w") and a woodcut of a creature with the body of a giant fish and the head of a giant boar, purported by the text to be a whale, with a man waving his arms in terror clasped in its jaws. On the shore at right of the woodcut, another man flees in terror, his mouth open, arms flung wide, and his legs rendered in a fairly accurate running posture. The accompanying text, in Italian, translates to, "All the western shores of Norway are dangerous in the early spring time because of whales of immeasurable size, reaching a hundred cubits. They congregate at this time to reproduce. All bodies or vessels entering [the area?] will be in danger, or from the heat of the water that they generate." The text goes on to describe how the navigator must pour a poison into the water to disperse the whales. The passage about whales ends with, "The great whales are not good to eat, because of the harshness [of their flesh]." Also with a woodcut of a shield with a lion. Verso has woodcuts of a ship and of a building with a small dome and many arches. Page 891; verso 892.


AF-DI-0685

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