The Brussels Map Circle

Home → Exhibitions

Exhibitions

Access to archives


Marseille, France

Organisation: MuCEM - Institut du monde arabe

De l'Empire perse aux conquêtes d’Alexandre le Grand, de l’expansion de l'islam aux explorations chinoises et des aventures portugaises aux navigations hollandaises, c'est entre Méditerranée et océan Indien que se sont déroulées les grandes aventures maritimes fondatrices du monde d’aujourd’hui.
L'exposition débute par la mise en place, au VIIe siècle, d’un empire des deux mers, celui des Omeyyades, lequel ouvrira les voies d’un monde dont le destin se joue principalement à la bascule du XVe et du XVIe siècle. Cette exposition, riche de plus de deux cents œuvres provenant de cinquante musées et institutions, de Lisbonne à Singapour, conduit le visiteur au croisement de l’or d’Afrique et de l’argent d’Occident, des verreries de Venise, des cotonnades indiennes, des porcelaines et des épices venues des mers de Chine.
L’exposition « Aventuriers des mers » a été présentée de novembre 2016 à février 2017 à l'Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris), dans une version centrée sur les voyageurs arabes du Moyen Âge. L’exposition au Mucem fait la part belle aux Grandes découvertes, et présente cinquante œuvres nouvelles provenant notamment de la Biblioteca Estense de Modène (Italie), de la Caixa Geral de Depósitos (Lisbonne), du Musée des Arts Décoratifs de l’océan Indien (La Réunion) et du Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienne).

Here are the comments of our Member Jacques Mille

Two successive exhibitions have been organised jointly by the IMA and MUCEM, to permit the discovery of relations established between the Mediterranean World and the Indian Ocean, from the Antiquity up to the sixteenth century. The various and numerous documents shown testify to the trade between the western and eastern worlds, from the Roman epoch, then through Constantinople and, above all, the Muslim expansion, after the eighth century, making the Middle East the hub of trade between Europe and Asia; trade took place overland (the well known Silk Road), as well as by maritime ways — whose antiquity and importance one discovers nowadays —, sailing in the Red Sea, the Persian gulf, Indian Ocean, and farther, to Indonesia and China, but also all along the eastern African coasts.
We may see here a first kind of world trading (globalisation), centered on the Indian Ocean, with a large volume of maritime trade using the regular winds of the Monsoon, and bringing prosperity to cities such as Aden, Ormuz, Mascate, Cochin, Calicut and, far away, Canton in south China.
This maritime trade brought from the East (Near or Far) products and goods sought after by western European buyers as well as by mighty Arab princes: spices, incense, luxury goods and, sometimes, slaves.
We know that it was to bypass that Arab trade monopoly that the Portuguese searched and found the way to the Cape of Good Hope, and Vasco de Gama reached India in 1498. The Portuguese thus conquered trade centres such as Goa, and as far as Indonesia, before being replaced by the Dutch of the VOC.
The two exhibitions testify to this trade with models of local ships, various products such as gold, lapis, jewels, spices of course, handicrafts, clothes, furniture, ceramics, glass, etc. and with books and maps bringing the testimony of the discovery of these unrecognised Eastern countries by map makers. If maps were not the first target of these two exhibitions, a number of them were on display; they were indeed an important contribution to the knowledge of the relationship between Western and Eastern Worlds, showing how Arab and European map makers have drawn these distant countries. Arab map makers were the first, as early as the tenth century, following the legacy of Ptolemy and Constantinople, but also their own knowledge and reports by sailors, merchants, traders, all kinds of dealers or travelers. The limited accuracy of this information led to imprecise representations of these new and remote countries.
The main maps exhibited are the following, listed here chronologically (not the case in the exhibitions!).
First, a manuscript map of Ptolemy (mid fifteenth century) with Ceylon and Malaysia.
Then, Arab maps, especially the planisphere of Al Idrisi made in 1154 for the Northman king of Sicily, Roger II, and maps in books (Livre des curiosités, eleventh - twelfth centuries, Livre des routes et des royaumes, 1306-07) showing the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean in very surprising and schematic drawings, as for maps of the Livre des curiosités listing all the ports in circles included in an oval form schematizing the Indian Ocean up to Indonesia and China.
From the end of the thirteenth century, Mediterranean map makers produced portolan charts in Genoa, Venice and Mallorca, based on their own knowledges but also on the legacy of Arabs for Eastern countries and through oral reports of merchants or travellers.
Then the maps of the Atlas catalan (1375) and the Catalan map of the World (1450) held in Modena (Biblioteca Estense).
And, overall, the fantastic map of Fra Mauro (ca 1450), held in Venice (Biblioteca Marciana), here exhibited in a digitalised copy on canvas, at its original size; it is as well a map of the known world of the time, and the equivalent of a book, owing to the numerous texts written on it.
In all cases the drawing of Mediterranean Sea was very accurate, but the maps became more and more imprecise towards the East, for the Indian Ocean and Indonesia, and further more for China (e.g. Cambaluq appears but the outlines of China are unidentifiable in terms of a modern map!).
For China the exhibitions present a book with maps of the sailing of Zeng He, in the short period when Chinese were interested in discovering the World (beginning fifteenth century).
Also shown is a plan of Venice by Piri Reis and Tunisian maps of Al Sharfi (1551, 1600) with the Mediterranean Sea drawn very accurately, copied from European portolan charts, and Eastern countries well described but, as on Fra Mauro's map, with a schematic drawing and many explanatory texts.
Finally there are maps relating the coming of Portuguese in the Indian Ocean: Pedro Reinel (1519), Lopo Homen (Atlas Miller, 1519) and Andreas Homen (1559 planisphere).
And to conclude, the well known, so called, Christopher Colombus map (1492) giving birth to the idea of the discovery of a new World , when he was searching for a new course, by the West, to reach the Indian Ocean, already an old World and known for a long time! These two exhibitions have shown, among a large number of various documents, some very important old maps, all telling the story of these Aventuriers des mers sailing and trading in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean with the Monsoon winds, the eastern African coasts and, far away, up to Indonesia and China, calling at Aden, Ormuz, Sofala, Calicut, Canton , and so on, all ports arousing dreams and hopes of enrichment in the mind of the men of these times.
Further reading:
  • Aventuriers des mers (VIIe - XVIIe siècle). Catalogue des expositions. Hazan, IMA et MUCEM 2016
  • La fabrique de l’Océan Indien. Cartes d’Orient et d’Occident (Antiquité - XVIe  siècle). Sous la direction d'Emmanuelle Vagnon et d'Eric Vallet, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2017 (a wonderful publication, a must buy if you are a lover of old maps!)
Venue: Mucem J4 - Niveau 2 - 7 Promenade Robert Laffont - 13002 Marseille
Catalogue availability: Yes.
URL:


Tremp, Spain
L'empresa FECSA (Fuerzas Eléctricas de Cataluña), fundada el 1951, va aglutinar una bona part de les antigues companyies elèctriques que van dur a terme la prospecció i la construcció de les obres hidroelèctriques més importants realitzades en els cursos dels rius Flamisell, Noguera Pallaresa, Noguera Ribagorçana, Segre i Baix Ebre. Per fer-les van haver d'aixecar cartografia de precisió amb corbes de nivell a escales mitjanes i grans d'un territori que, fins aleshores, no havia disposat de cap mapa topogràfic.
Aquesta cartografia, majoritàriament manuscrita i totalment desconeguda fins fa pocs anys, va quedar arxivada en els empreses fins que, l'any 1994, FECSA diposità, mitjançant un conveni, tota aquesta documentació cartogràfica a l'Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya (actual Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya -ICGC-) i passà a ser de consulta pública. Actualment tots els mapes estan digitalitzats, són accessibles i es poden descarregar des de la Cartoteca Digital de l'ICGC.
En aquesta exposició, organitzada en motiu de la visita del Cuarto Simposio Internacional sobre Historia de la Electrificación al Centre de Suport Territorial (CST) Pirineus de l'ICGC, es mostren alguns dels mapes d'aquest fons corresponents a la zona del Pallars Jussà.
Venue: Sala d'exposicions del Centre de Suport Territorial (CST), Pirineus Passeig de Pompeu Fabra 21, 25620 Tremp
Time schedule: Visites, de dilluns a divendres, a concertar al telèfon 973 650 830 (ext. 5002)
URL:


Prague, Czech Republic

Organisation: Faculty of Science of Charles University

The exhibition presents a family firm J. Felkl and Son, which had been active in Roztoky by Prague for nearly 100 years. This the largest Austro-Hungarian company produced unbeatably the best globes in eight sizes, ten versions and seventeen world languages. They also printed the first globes in national languages, not only in Czech but also in Hungarian and Polish. They were holders of two patents for special folding globes. They also offered special instruments such as telluria, sololunaria, planetaria and armillary spheres. They exported both to Europe and overseas. Their globes were appreciated in many of the world's (Paris, Vienna) and national exhibitions (Prague). Austro-Hungarian Ministry of Instruction ordered that their globes become the teaching aid. Besides the family and the firm there will be also introduced the foremen and workers, domestic and foreign authors of the firm, but particularly their globes in different language versions, telluria, printing stones, original instructional brochures and also original period advertisements.
The exhibition will be accompanied by video presentation.
Accompanying programme:
  • within the Prague Museum Night on 10 June 2017 there will be guided tours (12.00, 12.00), possibility to book in advance at: hyndrakm@natur.cuni.cz
  • guided tours at the exhibition on Wednesdays: 26 July, 13 September, 18 October 2017 always at 14.00
Venue: Foyer of the Map Collection of the Faculty of Science of Charles University, Prague
Contact: Eva Novotná
Telephone: +420 221 951 355
E-mail: novotn48@natur.cuni.cz
Time schedule: Monday - Friday, 09.00 - 17.00
Entry fee: Free access.
URL:


Halifax, Canada

Organisation: Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The conference will coincide with an exhibition of historic maps, with an emphasis on examples that show Indigenous contributions to cartographic knowledge of Canada in the early modern period. This interactive exhibition will be accompanied by an catalogue. Because the exhibition is mobile, it will be mounted in Fall 2017 in more than one location.

Note: dates are to be confirmed.

URL:


Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Organisation: Het Scheepvaartmuseum

Van 14 april t/m 31 december 2017 is één van de absolute topstukken, de wereldkaart van Joan Blaeu uit 1648, in Het Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam te zien. Deze wereldkaart met een formaat van 2 bij 3 meter, bood de meest actuele kennis van de wereld.
Van deze versie van de kaart is er maar één ter wereld. Na lange tijd weer te zien voor publiek. Blaeu's wereld in kaart | meester-cartograaf in de Gouden Eeuw is een uitbreiding van de populaire Atlassen tentoonstelling.
Wat is er te zien?
Met een loep in de hand krijg je de gelegenheid om alle verrassende details op de kaart te ontdekken. Zo is de wereldkaart van Blaeu één van de eerste kaarten waar de kustlijn van Australië en Nieuw-Zeeland te zien is. Daarnaast maak je kennis met de westerse en superieure kijk op inboorlingen; kannibalen en een lama in Zuid-Amerika, olifanten in Afrika, zeemonsters en zeeslagen. Een echte ontdekkingsreis!
De Amsterdamse firma Blaeu
De firma Blaeu was de grootste producent van kaarten in de zeventiende eeuw. De Blaeus baseerden zich op eerdere kaarten, eeuwenoude overlevering én de meest recente ontdekkingen. De boekhandel van de firma Blaeu was gevestigd vlak bij de haven, het huidige Damrak in Amsterdam. Deze locatie was niet toevallig gekozen. Daar arriveerden nieuwe producten en informatie van over de hele wereld. Zeelieden, kooplieden, geleerden en regenten samen, geïnteresseerd in Blaeu's kennis en kunde, kwamen hier samen. De cartografie van de firma Blaeu heeft dan ook veel invloed gehad op het wereld- en kaartbeeld. Veel cartografen probeerden Joan Blaeu na te volgen of te verbeteren.
De must-sees
De wereldkaart van Blaeu zit vol symboliek, illustraties en beeldende verhalen. De details zijn klein, maar opmerkelijk. De kaart vraagt om een bezoekje, maar hier verklappen we alvast de verhalen achter een paar opvallende details.
Venue: Kattenburgerplein 1, 1018 KK Amsterdam
Telephone: +31 20 52 32 222
E-mail: info@hetscheepvaartmuseum.nl
Time schedule: 09.00 - 17.00
URL:


The Hague, The Netherlands

Organisation: Nationaal Archief

Bijna tweehonderd jaar lang – van 1602 tot 1798 – heerst de Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie over de handel in het oostelijke deel van de wereld. Dat omvangrijke handelsrijk kan alleen met behulp van een grote papierstroom worden bestuurd vanuit de Republiek. Het Nationaal Archief bewaart een groot deel van het uitgebreide VOC-archief dat er nu nog is. Deze schat aan informatie is een van de meest bijzondere archieven en vormt al jarenlang een unieke bron voor onderzoekers. De VOC-archieven zijn in 2003 door UNESCO aangemerkt als werelderfgoed.
Part of the Kaart van de Indische Oost
Part of the Kaart van de Indische Oost. (Van Straat Soenda, om de Noord tot de Golf van Siam, alle de Eilanden beoosten Sumatra tot Halmahera, en benoorden tot Mindanao enz.), 1717. Manuscript op perkament. Inventarisnummer Kaarten Leupe 345, Nationaal Archief, The Hague

In de tentoonstelling De wereld van de VOC ontdekt u een groot aantal van deze schatten. Ga mee op reis langs unieke kaarten, scheepsjournalen, brieven, tekeningen en nog veel meer. En laat u aan de hand van persoonlijke verhalen meenemen door de geschiedenis van de VOC.
Venue: Prins Willem Alexanderhof 20, 2595 BE Den Haag
URL:


London, UK

Organisation: National Maritime Museum

When Captain Sir John Franklin and his two ships sailed for the Canadian Arctic in 1845, few could have predicted that the voyage would see both his crews - 129 men - perish in some of the most inhospitable conditions on earth after a bitter fight for survival.
The exact reason for the catastrophe has remained a mystery for 170 years, with stories surfacing of the men having endured starvation, madness and even cannibalism. But after the discovery of Franklin’s ships HMS Erebus and Terror in 2014 and 2016, Royal Museums Greenwich are able to present a world-first exhibition that offers insight into how the tragedy unfolded.
Divers are still undertaking extensive searches on the wrecks in order to uncover more clues, while mummified bodies of some of the crew members are undergoing DNA testing. The personal items and archaeological finds in the exhibition – many of them on display for the first time ever – will paint a vivid picture of what humans are capable of when pushed to extremes.
Venue: Royal Museums Greenwich, National Maritime Museum, King William Walk, Greenwich.
Time schedule: 10.00 - 17.00
URL:


Madrid, Spain

Organisation: Biblioteca Nacional de España,

El escritor Robert Louis Stevenson dijo en cierta ocasión que había oído hablar de unos hombres extraños a quienes no les interesaban los mapas, pero que no creía en su existencia. Sin duda, los mapas son objetos fascinantes. Su magnetismo es universal. Su atractivo procede de la ilusión que generan, de su gran poder evocador: la soledad de una isla remota, el acceso a una región desconocida, la visión panorámica y omnisciente. Para un príncipe un mapa es un archivo de sus posesiones, para un naturalista un calendario de futuros hallazgos, para cualquiera la promesa de un viaje pendiente. Los mapas nos enseñan lo que desconocemos o nos ayudan a ver lo que creíamos saber. Son obras de arte e instrumentos científicos. Tienen algo de pintura, algo de fotografía y algo de geometría. Sirven para orientarse y a menudo para perderse.
La BNE custodia fondos cartográficos de valor inestimable: mapas manuscritos, incunables, grabados, atlas, cartas náuticas y cientos más. La muestra contendrá más de doscientas obras procedentes de la propia BNE y de otras instituciones españolas. Todas ellas dan forma y permiten imaginar cosas inapreciables o remotas. Están los mapamundi medievales o las cartas de los descubrimientos. Hay mapas que recogen lugares inexistentes y otros que reflejan fenómenos invisibles. Cartografías de lo desconocido persigue dos objetivos. Primero, hacer que el espectador se fije más en el mapa y menos en el territorio, pues sucede a menudo que el mapa –como cualquier buen truco de magia– suele esfumarse, tiende a borrar las convenciones visuales y espaciales sobre las que se apoya para susurrarle al espectador y mostrarle con aparente trivialidad: "Usted está aquí", "así es la Tierra", "este es su país".
Sin embargo, nada es lo que parece. Por eso, en segundo lugar, queremos ofrecerle al visitante un recorrido por algunos de los recursos y los temas más frecuentes en esta historia del conocimiento y el ilusionismo, cómo han gestionado los mapas la información improbable, las novedades, los hechos inciertos, las regiones ignotas, los fenómenos invisibles. Comenzaremos por los ideales de simetría y las formas del mundo. Nos detendremos en la incorporación de la terra incognita y la representación de los lugares imaginarios. Dedicaremos una sección a las imágenes e información sobre los habitantes del globo, las relaciones entre geografía, historia natural y etnografía. Y otra a lo que callan los mapas, pues todo mapa enfatiza algunas cosas, pero también silencia y esconde otras: ya se sabe que algunos mapas sirven para descubrir tesoros y otros para ocultarlos. Finalmente, en la última sección comprobaremos el éxito de los mapas, cómo su lenguaje ha colonizado otros terrenos, cómo los mapas se han alzado como los instrumentos por antonomasia para cartografiar lo desconocido.
Venue: Paseo de Recoletos, 20-22, 28001 Madrid
URL:


Tampa, USA

Organisation: Tampa Bay History Center

For some, the connections between Florida and Cuba begin with Fidel Castro's takeover in 1959. For others, especially in Tampa, they begin 70 years earlier with the arrival of the cigar industry and the founding of Ybor City in 1886. Or, maybe it was back in the 1850s when the McKay family started shipping cattle from Tampa's Ballast Point to Havana.
However, in Gateways to the Caribbean: Mapping the Florida-Cuba Connection, you'll find an unbroken thread between the Sunshine State and the island nation dating back nearly 500 years.
On view through 28 January 2018, Gateways to the Caribbean charts five centuries of connections and interaction between Florida and Cuba through rare and original maps, lithographs and other documents.
In total, the more than 50 maps that make up Gateways to the Caribbean highlight the Spanish and British occupations of Cuba and Florida in the 15th and 18th centuries, the development of rail and steam ship lines that fostered trade and travel in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and tourist maps of Cuba printed both in the 1930s and as recently as 2016.
Also included in the exhibit are a collection of color lithographs depicting the British attack on Havana in 1762, in which they seized control of the island and wrested Florida away from Spain; a print by Cuban artist Ibrahim Miranda, created at the University of South Florida's Graphics Studio in 2012; and several tourists and travel maps, on loan to the History Center from HistoryMiami in South Florida.
Venue: 801 Old Water St, Tampa, FL 33602
URL:


Madrid, Spain

Organisation: Instituto Geográfico Nacional

Desde tiempos remotos, una de las principales inquietudes del ser humano ha sido conocer cómo es el Mundo en el que habita, intentando responder a cuestiones como, 'qué forma tiene la Tierra', 'cuáles son sus dimensiones' o 'qué relación guarda con los cuerpos celestes'.
Esta exposición pretende mostrar una sucesión cronológica de documentos cartográficos que ilustran los cambios que, a lo largo de más de 2.500 años, ha tenido la imagen del Mundo.
Partiendo de las primeras referencias geográficas de la antigua Grecia, que consideraban un Mundo plano, pasaremos por la Tierra esférica propuesta por nombres destacados como Aristóteles y Eratóstenes, siguiendo por los mapas de «T en O» y las cartas náuticas de la Edad Media, el redescubrimiento de la Geographia de Ptolomeo en el Renacimiento, hasta llegar a las grandes exploraciones oceánicas que terminaron de delinear el Mundo tal y como lo conocemos hoy en día.
Venue: Instituto Geográfico Nacional (Acceso por la Casa del Mapa) C/ General Ibáñez de Ibero, 3. 28003 | Madrid Metro Guzmán el Bueno
E-mail: documentacionign@fomento.es
Time schedule: Visitas Libre: de lunes a viernes, de 12 a 14 h.
Guiada: de lunes a viernes, entre las 11:00 y las 12:00
Entry fee: Entrada gratuita
URL:


Venice, Italia

Organisation: International Coronelli Society of Vienna - Biblioteca Marciana

In cooperation with the International Coronelli Society of Vienna, the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice will mount a special exhibition in honour of Vincenzo Coronelli, the celebrated Venetian map and globe maker who died three hundred years ago, in 1718. Prof Marica Milanesi, whose recent book on Coronelli was reviewed in Maps in History n° 58 (May 2017), is responsible for the exhibition concept, with the support of Dr Orsola Braides (Marciana) and Heide Wohlschläger (Coronelli Society).
On display will be maps and objects of Coronelli's life from the Marciana, as well as globes from the Rudolf Schmidt collection. A tri-lingual catalogue (Italian, English, German) will be published by Marica Milanesi and Heide Wohlschläger as a special edition for the members of the Coronelli Society.
Venue: Salone Sansovino, Biblioteca Marciana, Piazetta San Marco, Venice.
E-mail: heide.wohlschlaeger@coronelli.org
URL: