Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The oldest map of the Silk Road?

From the 2004 Conference Maps and Images in Zurich

How different can be the concepts for the representation of space, shows Andrew Kaplonys post. In his presentation he will focus on the oldest known map of the Silk Road. It dates from the year 1177 and only in the form of a later copy is handed down from 1266. Opposite to the precision we are familiar with with now a days cards where the angles and distances are true to the original, this is an illustrative map: cities, mountains and rivers are in a spatial relationship to each other. Not because they had not than in the Turkish-Arab-Islamic world precise measurement techniques. On the contrary, they had Astrolabs, a thousand years ago who could determine, by the stars the exact location of their own position. Instead, the card delivers, thanks to its schematization exactly the information that was relevant to its intended use. In this case, the position represented by yellow dots all Turkish tribes in Central Asia. This is explained by the fact that the exquisite piece of paper part of a 600-page dictionary was ethno-linguistic. With this one book, it was possible to communicate across the Turkish controlled area.

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