The monumental task of producing a general history of cartography continues. The extent and complexity of non-western mapping has led the editors to divide Volume Two of this series into two large books. Book One contains two parts, "Islamic Cartography" and "South Asian Cartography." (The forthcoming Book Two will be on "Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies.") As noted in the review of Fell's Early Maps of South-East Asia, there is a dearth of English-language literature on mapping outside the European tradition. This volume is a major effort to redress the situation.
Because the editors employed, correctly in this reviewer's opinion, a broad definition of cartography, both cosmography and nautical charts are dealt with in each section. As much of the material is unfamiliar to Western readers, the text can be slow going. However, it is a worthwhile effort as there is much to be learned. The numerous illustrations, including 40 color plates, not only illuminate the text, but are an education in themselves, since many are not easily recognizable as maps to Western eyes. As one would expect in a work of this nature, there are extensive footnotes and a lengthy bibliography, plus a thorough index. This book is recommended not only as an integral part of a major historical survey, but to readers wishing to broaden their knowledge of cartography.
Jon K. Rosenthal, 1993
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