Anthropomorphic Maps

Opicinus de Canistris, World map, 1296 - 1300

Sebastian Munster, Europe as a Queen, Basel 1570

Emrik & Binger, New map of Europe, Haarlem 1870

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

(John Donne, Meditation XVII, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, 1623)

The first anthropomorphic maps are star and zodiacal maps. Anthropomorphic maps of continents and single countries evolved gradually from them. The development of this tradition is to attribute to idea initially from the ancient Greeks, through the alchemical esotericism of Renaissance, of an parallel between the microcosm and the macrocosme. Anthropomorphic maps were drawn by insertioning of the body of a god or goddess in the area to be mapped. Areas under each part received the name of that part. By these early maps to every part of the body corresponds a region. A specific part of the body can be attributed for structural, functional or toponymical similarity. Later they have evolved into caricatures.

Source: Noam Flinker, John Donne and the "Anthropomorphic Map" Tradition, Map History at IPRH

We don't look more in the face

Do we underestimate psychological consequences of air pollution? We often speak of the consequences of pollution on health, and of the diseases that it can cause... but we speak less of affective and cognitive conditioning of air pollution. We quickly cross the external environment and we don't have the time anymore to look anybody in the FACE.


Andrey Chezhin, From “Black square” series, 1980

Gottfried Helnwein, Poem 1, 1996

Giancarlo Malandra, The man without face, 2007

Prosopagnosia (sometimes known as face blindness) is a disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while the ability to recognize other objects may be relatively intact. The term usually refers to a condition following acute brain damage, but recent evidence suggests that a congenital form of the disorder may exist. The specific brain area usually associated with prosopagnosia is the fusiform gyrus.
Few successful therapies have so far been developed for affected people, although individuals often learn to use 'piecemeal' or 'feature by feature' recognition strategies. This may involve secondary clues such as clothing, hair color, body shape, and voice. Because the face seems to function as an important identifying feature in memory, it can also be difficult for people with this condition to keep track of information about people, and socialize normally with others.

Source: Wikipedia, photos: Andrey Chezhin, Gottfried Helnwein, Giancarlo Malandra

Bottled monsters

National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, DC, example of achondroplasia

National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, DC, achondroplasia and anencephalacy

National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, DC, Asian anatomical model

In these photos by James G. Mundie, some items of Anatomical Collections of National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC.

Source: James G. Mundie by Flickr, Morbidanatomy, Bottledmonsters