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Revisiting Catalan Portolan Charts: Do They Contain Elements Of Asian Provenance?

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Chapter Summary

Several visual elements in two Catalan portolan charts of the fourteenth century can be understood only when placed in the context of diverse Asian cultures. The relative weight of Byzantine and Arabic maps and of Greek, Arabic, Persian, or even Turkic textual, oral, and visual information in Catalan portolan charts has been one of the unasked questions in the discussion on the origins and sources of these maps. This chapter focuses on these issues in relation to two portolan charts of the fourteenth century: Angelino Dulcert?s portolan chart, and the famous Catalan Atlas. The visual representation of mountains as we find it in Arabic and Persian world maps as well as regional maps is not limited to the Atlas Mountains in Africa but is visible in Europe and Asia, too. The chapter ignores the mountains to focus instead on three ?R?s? in Western Asia: rivers, rulers, and riding animals.

Keywords: Asian cultures; Catalan portolan charts; fourteenth century; maps; riding animals; rivers; rulers



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