Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1578. Disbound. The "Monster of Krakow" from Cosmographia, das ist: Beschreibung der gantzen Welt by Sebastian Munster. Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1578. Disbound.
This disbound leaf from Munsters Cosmographia measures 8" x 13.5". It contains two woodcuts, one showing the Monster of Krakow and the other, the Lithuanian coat of arms. The leaf is in nice shape with some marginal toning.
The Monster of Krakow was a horribly deformed baby variously claimed to have been born in either Krakow or the Netherlands in either 1543 or 1547. The child died within four days, however, this drawing of it as an adult was based on descriptions recorded at its birth. The 'monster' supposedly had webbed claws instead of feet and hands, a forked tail, flaming red eyes, a lion's mouth, an elephant's trunk, and small animal heads at its armpits, elbows, and knees. Contemporary scholars debated at length as to whether the child was the product of intercourse between a demon and a woman, an example of divine retribution, the consequence of a horrific event experienced by the mother during pregnancy, or the result of corrupt semen.. Very good. Item #009736
Sebastian Munster was a cosmographer and professor of Hebrew who taught at several European universities. During his life, he became the center of a network of scholars who provided him with maps, anecdotes, and descriptions of phenomena of the known world. In 1554, he first published his Cosmographia which contained 471 woodcut illustrations and 26 maps. It was reprinted in six languages in 46 editions over the next hundred years, and Munster's writings, maps, and illustrations influenced scholarly thought for generations beyond that.