Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Al-Idrissi: Geographer and Cartographer

This stamp pays tribute to the famous Arab geographer and cartographer Al-Idrissi.  He contributed to the enrichment of the maritime history of the Indian Ocean and the world.  The iconic figure of Al-Idrissi or Sharif Al-Idrissi (about 110-1165) celebrated here, is famous for his Book of Roger (1154-1157), the state-of-the-art world atlas in pre-modern times.  This map which shows the sphericity of the Earth, as the cartographer believed the world was round, was a reference in the world of cartography till the 16th century.

The FDC depicts the famous planisphere which Al-Idrissi designed for King Roger II of Sicily in 1154.  It was almost 6 feet in diameter, inscribed on silver and weighing some 450 pounds.  The map portrayed is upside down (South/North) as was customary with the Arabs following Chinese Tradition.

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