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Thread: The Ornamental Map - Harvard Map Collection

  1. #1
    Guild Novice Facebook Connected
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Bellaire, MI

    Link The Ornamental Map - Harvard Map Collection

    I'm not sure if this topic should go in the mapping resources thread, instead? It's more inspiration than actual resources, but very cool.

    From the Harvard Maps "Going for Baroque" online exhibit:

    "Maps offer guideposts to orient us in physical space, but they also employ a repertoire of graphic tools to convey overt and covert messages that channel our geographical perceptions. The ornamental features that may now seem little more than decorative embellishments once acted as richly nuanced symbols, analogies, and coded commentaries. This exhibit explores how decorative cartographic devices - cartouches, vignettes, figural borders, title pages, and frontispieces—could provide narrative underpinnings for the geospatial content of maps. To those accustomed to their visual vocabulary, these ornamental elements (whether emblems, insignia, heraldic shields, mythological figures, or allegories) could make an eloquent case for the authority and vision of the mapmaker."

    The exhibit is here:

    Hope you find some inspiration from this!

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Along the ocean, south of Boston, MA


    Rob A,
    You are right! It is a great source for inspiration! I scoured the maps this time for examples of the Compass Rose and oddly discovered that there is a pointy, 3-D arrow shape that is used in many roses consistently through the ages. It may appear a little thiner, or fatter, and is shaded in various ways, but seems to consistantly be present. I wonder if it has a specific iconological significance other than to point the direction N? I would attach a copy of one here, but I haven't figured that move out yet.

    This Harvard Map series is also a great source for tons of ideas when rendering mountains, walled cities, trees, coastline graphics, and the list goes on! Thank you for sharing this find!
    Nancy - Writemor

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