Zanzibar and Madagascar
By BORDONE, Benedetto di , 1534

[Inebila, imangla, bazacata and other Far Eastern islands]; Zanzibar, maidegascar

  • Author: BORDONE, Benedetto di
  • Publication place: Venice
  • Publisher: [Nicolo Zoppino]
  • Publication date: 1534
  • Physical description: Pair of vignette woodcut maps, with contemporary hand-colour in outline.
  • Dimensions: 300 by 200mm. (11.75 by 7.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 3273


The top map shows a group of imaginary islands, after Ptolemy. Bordone writes that only women live on Imangla and only men on Inebila; the women went to Inebila solely to procreate, and any male babies were sent to Inebila at the age of three. Bazacata was supposedly populated completely by nudists; Maniole was made of magnetic ore. The bottom map is of Zanzibar and Madagascar. Bordone was the first cartographer to publish individual maps of the Southeast Asian islands.

From the second Zoppino edition of Benedetto di Bordone’s ‘Isolario’, published in 1534. Bordone’s (1460-1539) “Isolario…”, or book of islands, was the first printed isolario to encompass the entire world, the only printed isolario to precede it was the little book of Bartolomeo dalli Sonetti, 1485, which covered only the Aegean islands. The isolario was a popular genre that had first appeared in manuscript examples by Cristoforo Buondelmonte dating from the early fifteenth-century, Bordone expanded on the usual theme to encompass lands beyond the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean archipelago and the Levant, to guide travellers to other parts of Europe and the world, stretching as far as the Indian Ocean, the African coastline and the New World.

Bordone’s work combines conventional and maritime cartography: the representation of settlements echo maps, and the coastlines are in the style of nautical charts.


  1. Shirley, BL, T.BORD-1a
  2. Shirley, World, 59.