81 - The First Turkish World Map, by Kashgari (1072)
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
This map, made by Mahmud Kashgari bin Husayn bin Muhammad, was included in his Divanu Lügat-it-Türk, a scientific work he published in 1072 (AD) for the benefit of the Caliph of Baghdad. It is the first world map of Turkish origin known in history, and is preserved at the General National Library (Millet Genel Kütüphanesi) in Istanbul. It is presented on a stamp issued in 1972, on the occasion of the map’s nine-hundredth birthday.
The map is oriented with the east on top (but is shown here with north on top) and centres on the Turkic areas in Central Asia, which include Kashgar, the birth-place of Kashgari. The map scale is reduced towards the edges of the map. The geographical features are colour-coded thus:\n
- Blue – rivers \n
- Green – seas \n
- Light yellow – deserts \n
- Red – mountains \n
- Yellow – cities, countries, lands and peoples \n
This map was taken from the excellent stamp website mentioned in the previous post, and is overlaid with numbers 1-24 to indicate references to (mostly) real places. Which are:\n
- Bulgaria (judging by its location, probably the so-called Wolga-Bulgaria rather than present-day Bulgaria) \n
- Caspian Sea \n
- ‘Rus’ (Russia) \n
- Alexandria \n
- Egypt \n
- Tashkent \n
- Japan (surrounded by a green semicircle) \n
- China (with water to the west) \n
- Balasagun (now in Kyrgyzstan, then the ‘centre of the world’) \n
- Kashgar (the map-maker’s birthplace) \n
- Samarqand \n
- Iraq \n
- Azerbaijan \n
- Yemen \n
- East Somalia \n
- East Sahara \n
- Ethiopia \n
- North Somalia \n
- Indus \n
- Hindustan \n
- Ceylon (Adam’s Peak or Jebel Serandib, indicated by the red dot on the south of the island, supposedly is where Adam was exiled to after being kicked out of Paradise) \n
- Kashmir \n
- Gog and Magog (Biblical/legendary land walled off from the world by a mountain range) \n
- The World-Encircling Sea \n
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