Talking Maps | Weston Library, Oxford | Until March 8, 2020 AT the entrance to Talking Maps, a new and mind-expanding exhibition at the Weston Library in Broad Street, Oxford, is a great recreation of a 12th century map of the world engraved on silver plates. The original map was commissioned by King Roger of Sicily and drawn up by a Muslim geographer. There are several unusual features to this map. It has south at the top, not the bottom. It puts the Arabian peninsula in the centre. And because it’s engraved on silver, you can see a blurred version of yourself, just as the king and the original craftsmen would have done. It’s a reminder that maps don’t just plot contours and coastlines but also offer a reflection of their makers and users. Early maps of the world — mappae mundi — might put Jerusalem or Mecca at the centre, because religion was what mattered. Old maritime charts didn’t show interiors because only the ports and trade routes were significant. The artist Grayson Perry provides a contemporary version of the mappa mundi with a giant engraving titled “Map of Nowhere”. Full of detail, what lies at its centre is… Read full this story
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