History of Cartography

Portolans Charts and Renaissance Maps

4611.3 - Mapa mondi (Catalan Atlas of 1375), Majorcan cartographic school, and 14th century Asia

Tuesday, July 4
3:30 PM - 3:50 PM
Location: Hoover

This paper deals with the Mapa mondi drawn and written in about 1375. It is my starting study about this important map of the medieval period in the Catalan language and the finest work to come from the Majorcan cartographic school of the fourteenth century. The aim of this paper is to give a general overview of the publication with some details on descriptions of the portion of Asia, and in more details as regards China. This map is known also as the Catalan Atlas, because it is composed of several tables sketching out the world known at that time, from the Atlantic Coast of Europe to the Pacific Coast of East Asia. The main sources for the eastern parts of the world were travelogues of Marco Polo, John Mandeville, and Odoric of Pordenone. The presumable author of the Catalan Atlas, Cresques Abraham (1325–1387), a Jewish cartographer from Palma, was “master of mappæ mundi and compasses” to Peter IV (III), the King of Aragon. He worked on the atlas with his son Jehudà, who after the Aragonese persecutions of 1391, converted to Christianity. The atlas contained the latest information on Africa, Asia, and China and was considered to be the most complete picture of geographical knowledge as it stood in the later Middle Ages. The translations of original texts and interpretations, based on facsimiles of original source and on secondary sources until 2016, will be a part of this paper.

Vladimír Liščák

research fellow
Oriental Institute CAS, Czech Republic

Vladimír Liščák, PhD (9 February 1954), is a Sinologist in the Department of East Asian Studies, the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Prague, Czechia). His research interest focuses on the contacts along the Silk Roads, especially between mediaeval Christian Europe and China. His main research in last 15 years was Odoric of Pordenone and his Itinerarium, and contacts with Mongolian China during the 14th century. In recent years, he has conducted research into the history of the Franciscan missions to China in modern times. He is the author of numerous articles in Czech, English, Chinese, and several books in Czech language. In 2016 he received MOFA Taiwan Fellowship for ten months.


Send Email for Vladimír Liščák

Martin Davis

University Instructor
Canterbury Christ Church University

Since being awarded a first class honours degree in Geography by Canterbury Christ Church University (UK) and receiving the Clutton’s Prize for Best Geographical Dissertation (2014), Martin has worked as an Instructor at the University, delivering teaching in Cartography, GIS and European Geography, alongside his on-going PhD research into Soviet military cartography. In 2015, Martin was awarded the British Cartographic Society’s Ian Mumford Award for excellence in original cartographic research. Martin is a member of the British Cartographic Society and is Reviews Editor and Editorial Assistant of The Cartographic Journal (UK).


Send Email for Martin Davis


4611.3 - Mapa mondi (Catalan Atlas of 1375), Majorcan cartographic school, and 14th century Asia

Slides Handout

Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Mapa mondi (Catalan Atlas of 1375), Majorcan cartographic school, and 14th century Asia