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