Around 1300 an obscure clergyman called Richard of Haldingham unveiled one of the most remarkable maps of medieval civilisation: his mappa-mundi, or world map. It is made from a flayed calf’s skin, and can still be seen today in Hereford Cathedral. The map contains over a thousand pictures and captions, revealing how medieval Christians understood the world. East is at the top, showing Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the story of Biblical time is told moving ‘down’ the map, ending at the westerly point of the Pillars of Hercules near modern-day Gibraltar. North is to the left and ends in Russia, while south is to the right, filled with cannibals and monstrous races from Africa. Jerusalem is at the map’s centre, with Christ triumphant at the very top, overseeing the Day of Judgement. This is a map about spiritually travelling towards god, rather than getting from one place to another.
Next The Yu Ji Tu, 1137