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Mostri Marini et Terrestri... (Monsters of Sea and Land...)

Photo credit: American Museum & Gardens

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This curious illustration is included in Sebastian Münster’s 'Cosmographia' – one of the most popular works of the 16th century, with nearly forty editions in several languages. Münster had taken his inspiration from the fantastical creatures depicted in a 1539 travelogue, the title of which translates as ‘A Marine Map and Description of the Northern Lands and Their Marvels’ by the Swedish scholar and cleric Olaus Magnus. After the success of 'Cosmographia', it was Münster’s monsters that became the pictorial inspiration of later maps, whose sea beasts enlivened and terrified generation upon generation of landlubbers.

American Museum & Gardens



Mostri Marini et Terrestri... (Monsters of Sea and Land...)




hand-coloured woodcut on paper


H 31.3 x W 40.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift, 1989

Work type



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American Museum & Gardens

Claverton Manor, Bath, Somerset BA2 7BD England

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