Asia depicted as Pegasus, by H. Bünting
Asia Secunda Pars Terrae in Forma Pegasi., 1581.
Old map of Asia as Pegasus by H. Bünting.
Date of the first edition: 1581
Date of this map: 1581
Size (not including margins): 25 x 35.5cm (9.8 x 13.8 inches)
Verso text: German
Condition Rating: A
References: Baynton-Williams New Worlds, p.39.
From: Itinerarium Sacrae Scriptura . . . Magdeburg, 1581- ....
Asia as Pegasus is one of ten maps in Bünting's Itinerarium, in which the author, a theological commentator, rewrote the Bible as an illustrated travel book. Other maps in the series bear out his imaginative approach to cartography, which pictures the world in the form of a cloverleaf and Europe as the Queen of the World.
This is one of the more dramatic curiosity maps, depicted in the form of Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology. He sprang from the body of Gorgon Medusa when Perseus cut her head off. He was tamed by Bellerophon with the assistance of the goddess Athena, and featured in a number of Bellerophon's exploits, most particularly when Bellerophon provoked the anger of the gods by trying to ride Pegassus up to Heaven.
Pegasus' head is represented by Turkey and his wings Tartary; the forelegs are Arabia and the saddle blanket Persia; the left hind leg is India and the right the Malay Peninsula.
It is interesting that despite the Itinerarium being about the Bible, the symbolism of classical mythology was still considered appropriate for this map. (Baynton-Williams)