This is a large and extraordinarily interesting map of Utopia by German cartographer Johann Baptist Homann. First state of the first of the “Schlarraffenland” (or the English equivalent “Cockaigne”) maps, which parody paradise, depicted as a “land of milk and honey” where chickens fly around already cooked and each home is surrounded by a hedge of sausage. Schlarraffenland maps were popularized by German cartographers Homann and Seutter; this one is attributed to Homann. The map has all the “normal” characteristics of a real map depicting a real country: latitude/longitude lines, a scale, topography (forests, rivers, lakes, mountains), place names, demarcated regions. But, of course, the devil is in the details. The longitude of this Schlarraffenland (from 360º to 550º) literally places it off the chart—its latitude situates it on the equator, where sin is not partial to day or night. The scale suggests that one of the country’s big mouths (“Schlarrafische grosse Mäuler”) equals two small venereal or arrogant mouths (“Kleine venerische oder Hoffärtige Mäuler”). There is much fun in decoding the map’s cartographic humor, but, of course, there is always some sobering truth in something “funny”—in recognizing their own faults, viewers get the message: reform your sinful ways.
From Map: Accurata Utopiæ tabula: Das ist der neu entdeckten Schalck Welt, oder des so offtbenannten, und doch nie erkanten Schlarraffenlandes, neu erfundene lacherliche Land tabell, worinnen alle und jede laster in besondere Konigreich, Provintzen und Herrschafften ab getheilet, beyneben auch die negst angrentzende Länder der Frommen des zeitlichen Auff und Untergangs auch ewigen verderbens Regionen, samt einer Erklerung anmuthig und nutzlich vorgestellt werden”
([Nuremberg: Officina Homanniana, ca. 1720]) [Accurate map of Utopia: This is the newly invented, humorous chart of the World of Fools, frequently called the Land of Cockaigne which has never been found, showing and explaining in a beautiful and useful manner any and all vices by kingdom, province, and domain, also the border countries of the faithful as well as the regions of the beginning and end of time and eternal doom]. Copperplate map, with added color.