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Nicolas Sanson. Les Deux Poles Arctique... 1730.

Nicolas Sanson. Les Deux Poles Arctique... 1730.

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Nicolas Sanson.

Les Deux Poles Arctique...

Engraved map with original hand color in outline.

Amsterdam: P. Mortier, c. 1730.

24 3/4 x 20 inches sheet.

This is a beautiful example of Peter Mortier's 1696 double-hemisphere map of the north and south poles. The primary hemispheres focus on the northern and southern thirds of the world. The secondary hemispheres show the entire world, centered respectively on Paris and its antipodes

The geographical content of the primary hemispheres is drawn from the 1657 map of Nicolas Sanson (whose title is shared by the present work.)These do not constitute a world map per se. The polar projections end at 45º south and north respectively. The southern polar projection on theright is dominated by a massive southern continent, marked Terre Magellanique Australe et Incogneue (the southern and unknown land ofMagellanica.)

The northern hemisphere shows Europe north of central France and the Black Sea, Asia north of the Caspian Sea and Turkestan, and Spitzbergenand Nova Zemla are shown as partial coastlines. North America shows the Great Lakes in their unfinished, 'Sanson-type' form. The northern part of North America is shown including the Saint Lawrence River, Newfoundland, and the Canadian Maritimes. Hudson's Bay, Button's Bay, Baffin'sBay, and the Davis Strait are all shown, with numerous openings in the coastline suggesting the possibility of a Northwest Passage. Greenland is shown as a landmass contiguous with North America, and nearly connecting with Spitzbergen. Additionally, the North American landmass reaches westward to include the speculative
Terre de Yezo, ou Iesso, which contemporaneous cartographers presented as beginning as the island of Hokkaido. 


The decorative elements - up to and including the framing of the secondary hemispheres, and the cartouche banner - are copied from NicolasVisscher's 1658
Orbis Terrarum Nova et Accuratissima Tabula.

Visscher's artist - the Dutch painter Nicolaes Berchem - created nuanced, layered allegorical scenes representing each of the four elements in the map's four corners. The scene for 'Air' shows Zeus and Hera in a chariot pulled by eagles, with
putti flying in attendance. For 'Earth', in a woodland scene, Demeter gifts a hungry mankind the fruits of the Earth, in an overflowing cornucopia.
The scene representing 'Fire' takes place in the underworld, showing the abduction of Persephone by Hades. In the aquatic scene, Poseidon woos Aphrodite in a hippocampus-drawn chariot, with mer-putti bugling wetly from conches and playing tambourines.

The top ancillary hemisphere is flanked by angelic figures, while the bottom is flanked by a mermaid (facing the water scene) and a satyr facingthe Earth vignette. The cruxes of the four hemispheres are each peopled with a trio of

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