Valais from Cosmographia Universalis by Sebastian Muenster

Fascinating 16th Century woodcut illustrating the course of the Rhone river flowing through the Valais from “Universelle, livre III / 999-1000 with text on reverse.  Locations shown include Sion, Brienz, Goms, Leuk and the baths at Leuk, and Brigerbad and much more.

Sebastian Münster

Sebastian Münster, (January  20, 1488 –  May 26, 1552) wrote and illustrated the first German description of the world in his work Cosmographia published in 1544 and richly illustrated with detailed woodblock prints, some of which were drawn by the great artists of the period including Hans Holbein the Younger and Urs Graf.

Born in Ingelheim, the son of farmers he entered the Franciscan order and studied at the University of Tübingen in 1518.  He later became a Lutheran.  An professor of Hebrew, he was the first German to produce an edition of the Hebrew Bible. 

His other works include Mappa Europae (1536). In a Rabbinical translation of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew,  a Latin edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia with illustrations, Novae lnsulae XXVI Nova Tabula (1552) and Rudimenta Mathematica (1551)

He died in Basel of the plague in 1552.