A Splendid, As Issued Copy of Garcia Cubas’ Omnibus Work on Mexico

“The maps and illustrations are superb” (David Rumsey)

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11. [ATLAS]. GARCÍA Y CUBAS, Antonio. Atlas pintoresco é histórico de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos por Antonio Garcia Cubas divisiones política, etnográfica y eclesiástica; vias de comunicacion, instrucción pública, orografía, hidrográfia, agricultura, minería, topografía del Valle de México y de las cercanías de la capital; arqueología é historia; obra adornada con los retratos de los descubridores, conquistadores, misioneros y gobernantes de México, héroes de la independencia y personas prominentes, asi como con dibujos cromolitográficos de los principales tipos de las familias etnográficas y vistas de los lugares mas pintorescos del país, templos, palacios, edificios, monumentos públicos y objetos arqueológicos, como son armas y divisas de los antiguos mexicanos, instrumentos músicos, utensilios y ruinas célebres. Mexico: Publicado por Debray Sucesores, 1885. Lithograph title on beige ground and ornate letters in terracotta and tan [matching decoration on verso with copyright note: Habiendose hecho el depósito que órden la ley queda asegurada la propriedad artistica de esta obra] + 13 double-page chromolithograph plates, each of which is a specialized map of Mexico surrounded by individual lithograph vignettes corresponding to the maps, such as archaeology, botany, rivers, mining, volcanoes and mountains, railroads, costumed ethnographic types, etc. Oblong double elephant folio (66 x 85.5 cm), original three-quarter navy blue Mexican sheep over royal blue cloth (spine lettered in gilt and with gilt decoration). Binding with very light edge wear and mild to moderate spotting to cloth. Interior exceptionally fine except for very mild browning of a few corners not affecting text or images. Overall, very fine, original condition, in full sheets, as issued, never folded, as is usually the case with this grandiose atlas. We know of only one other copy in this unfolded state (Antiquariaat Forum in 2003). We have seen the atlas in two formats (both with folded plates), in original printed boards (Rumsey) and in brown folio cloth with gilt lettering. With text:

GARCÍA Y CUBAS, Antonio. Cuadro geográfico, estadístico, descriptivo é histórico de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Obra que sirve de texto al Atlas Pintoresco. Mexico: Oficina Tip. de la Secretaría de Fomento, 1885. [2], [i] ii-iv, [1] 2-474, [i] ii-iii, [2] pp. (title printed in red and black), unattributed lithograph plate in bronze ink, 3 charts (2 folded), lithograph map in bronze ink (Peregrinación de los Aztecas en el valle de Anahuac). 8vo, contemporary half black sheep. Very good condition. Difficult to find the text and atlas together. An 1884 edition (here probably the same sheets with new preliminaries) was issued under the auspices of the Mexican Commission to the New Orleans exposition of 1884-1885. Palau 98718. Not in Glass.

Plate List of Atlas

Maps 1-10 measure 40.7 x 28.5 cm (neat line to neat line) and show Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, and the United States north to San Diego (most of Texas, to slightly north of Fort Belknap), and Guatemala to slightly south of Belize. The last three maps are differently sized (measurements provided below). All maps are surrounded by lithographs relating to the theme of each map. Map and images together measure 53.3 x 68.4 (neat line to neat line). Each plate has text above top neat line: Atlas pintoresco, and below lower neat line: A. Garcia Cubas | Publicado por Debray Sucesores—Mexico | Propriedad de los editores. Measurement of plates with text above and below: 55.5 x 68.4 cm. Overall sheet size: 63.5 x 84 cm.

[1] Carta Politica. A political map with an inset chart showing population and size of the states. Fifty-five Mexican bust portraits at top show statesmen and heroes, including Iturbide, Hidalgo, Morelos, Matamoros, Mina, Santa-Anna, Almonte, Maximillian, and Juárez. Eleven views of architecture include Chapultepec, the national and municipal palaces in Mexico City, and the state palaces at Guadalajara, San Luis Potosí, Xalapa, Veracruz, Merida, Morelia, Oaxaca, and Morelos.

[2] Carta Etnografica. This ethnographic map shows the distribution of indigenous tribes (a few of which extend into the United States. The map has an inset chart of the different races including “whites,” indigenous people, and “mexclada.” The number of members of each indigenous group is charted. The map is surrounded by twenty-six brightly colored lithographs of people of the various regions, including Veracruz, San Luis Potosí, Michoacan, Chiapas, Yucatan, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chihuahua (“civilized Apaches”), etc. Some of the images relate to social activities, such as the jarabe (Mexican hat dance), “raza blanca” (European dances), “baile fantástico” (wild dance at religious festival), and wedding dance. Occupational types are shown, such as hacendados. Very beautiful images with excellent documentary value. Not in the costume bibliographies.

[3] Carta Eclesiastica. The map divides the nation into bishoprics and presents symbols, such as crosses for archdiocesan offices, etc. The twenty images around the map depict selected churches and a few interiors of those edifices.

[4] Vias de Comunicación y Movimiento Maritimo. This dynamic map highlights transportation and communication systems for the country, and includes eight steamboats at sea. The fifteen surrounding lithographs depict drawings of train tracks, ports, and numerous bridges. The plate offers useful information while documenting Mexico’s serious embracement of technology.

[5] Instruccion Publica. Mexico’s educational system and museums are highlighted, and a chart shows the number of persons who attend school in various states. At the top are over eighty bust portraits of scholars, teachers, literary men, scientists, etc., including Sor Juana de la Cruz (poetess), Alzate y Ramírez (astronomer and publisher), Siguenza y Góngara (engineer), Ramos Arizpe (orator), Escalante (caricaturist). The lithos around the map include the National Library (with 200,000 volumes), Law School, School of Fine Arts (paintings on exhibit), Salon of Zoology, Schools of Music, Engineering, etc.

[6] Carta Orografica. The map presents Mexican topography and includes a composite view of the relative heights of mountains and volcanoes. Thirteen beautiful lithographs around the map show mountains, volcanoes, and caves of the nation (Popocatepetl, Orizaba, Iztaccihuatl, etc.)

[7] Carta Hidrografica. The water system of Mexico is illustrated, the boundaries showing the various areas in which rivers drain. An inset map shows the relative length of the rivers throughout the country. Patterns of currents are indicated in the oceans. The map is surrounded by sixteen lovely lithographs of the rivers, waterfalls, and lakes (landscape scene of Colorado River at Sonora and California, waterfall of Regla, underground river in Campeche, etc.).

[8] Carta Agricola. The map has colored symbols to indicate agricultural crops in Mexico, and at left is a composite illustration showing the foliage that grows at different altitudes throughout the country. Surrounding the map are twelve lithographs of flora, haciendas, farms, and agricultural scenes (Soapayuca Hacienda de Pulque, ranching scene at San Luis Potosí, aqueduct at Hidalgo, etc.). Large lithographs on the side present various botanical specimens in Mexico.

[9] Carta Minera. An inset chart on this mining map shows the production of gold and silver, total value in pesos taken from 1537-1882 and amount taken since Independence. Colored symbols on the map indicate location of various minerals. Fifteen surrounding views show mines and mining towns.

[10] Carta Historica y Arqueologica. The map, which has an inset locating the extent of the Nahua in the Valley of Mexico, locates the historical and archeological sites around the country. The map is surrounded by ten illustrations of primary archeological ruins and artifacts (Teotihuacan, Mitla, Uxmal, Chichen-Itza, Palenque, etc.). See note from Getty Exhibition at end of this description.

[11] Reyno de la Nueva España a Principios del Siglo XIX. This map of New Spain includes a table indicating population and size of the various states and measures 31 x 39 cm (neat line to neat line). The map extends farther north than the previous maps of Mexico in this atlas (to just north of Cape San Sebastian in Southern Oregon), reflecting the earlier possessions of Mexico. Included is the Transmississippi West and all of Texas (labelled Provincia de Tejas, when Texas was part of the Intendencia de San Luis Potosí). “Nueva California” is depicted as a narrow coastal strip, indicating that the region of the modern state of California was still largely unexplored in the Spanish era, due to its history of weak Spanish political control and remoteness from the United States. Above the map is the elaborate shield of the Spanish arms, and below are the arms of Bourbon and Austria. At center below is a large illustration of the main plaza of Mexico with the famous statue of Carlos IV. Around the map are ninety-three portraits of notable religious and secular persons in Mexican history, including two women (Queen Isabella and Doña Marina). Among the portraits are California missionary Father Junipero Serra and Conde Bernardo de Gálvez, who aided the United States in its Revolutionary War and for whom Galveston, Texas, is named.

[12] Valle de Mexico. The map on this plate is a topographical map of the Valley of Mexico showing roads, towns, and features (neat line to neat line: 29 x 18.7 cm). Ten dramatic landscape scenes surround the map, including two panoramic views of Mexico from the north and south, the Belen paper mill, Chalco Canal, Chapultepec, the woods of Chapultepec, public canal and waterworks, etc.

[13] Mexico y sus cercanias. This map is irregular in shape (approximately 35 x 37 cm neat line to neat line). Presented are the regions immediately surrounding Mexico City. An inset map shows Chapultepec and its topography and other features. The fourteen surrounding lithographs present noteworthy features of Mexico City itself, including statues of Carlos IV and Columbus, Molina del Rey, National Theatre, Avenue of Famous Men with horse-drawn trolleys, Rio Hondo with steam train passing in foreground, etc.

     First edition of one of the most colorful of nineteenth-century Mexican color-plate books, prepared by García y Cubas, known as “el fundador de nuestra geografía como ciencia” (Dicc. Porrúa). Chadenat 7016.Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 44: “Monumental”; xv (illustrating a plate); 60 (title cited in bibliography); 65 (Secretaría de Fomento). Palau 98718 (text), 98736 (atlas). Phillips, Atlases 2686. Osher Library Exhibit, “Mapping Latin America: Understanding the Mexican State” in American Treasures: “Atlas pintoresco e histórico was a highly polished presentation of the character of the state defined through a variety of statistics graphically presented in beautiful thematic maps.... The imagery on the ethnographic map treated the ‘white race’ respectfully by contrast to the more intrusive images of indigenous peoples. Again, on the map dedicated to education...a host of portraits—almost entirely of white men—pay homage to Mexico’s literate society, while the color scheme of the map itself parallels the color hierarchy of Mexican society by displaying literacy rates from high (in white) to low (in brown).” Rumsey 2693: “The maps and illustrations bordering them are superb. García Cubas was the preeminent Mexican cartographer of the nineteenth century.”

     The Mexican publishing and lithographic firm of Debray exhibited an early and avid interest in color printing. His firm and its successor created important plates and maps of Mexico (see CASTRO herein). Joining forces again with Antonio Garcia y Cubas, the two created one of the most exciting, ambitious and unique lithographic works of nineteenth-century Mexico by combining both oversize maps and views in a single volume. The work contains thirteen maps and over four hundred images.

     Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery, “Obsidian Mirror-Travels: Refracting Ancient Mexican Art and Archaeology” reproduces the archaeological plate and comments:

After the conquest, the Spanish Crown prohibited non-Spanish subjects from traveling to colonial Latin America, a restriction that vanished with Mexican independence in 1821. European and American explorers and artists began to make frequent expeditions to Mexico, bringing with them new scientific and aesthetic ways of looking at ancient Mexican cultures and objects. They used new forms of reproduction, such as lithography and photography, that made images more accessible. The reports and lavishly illustrated volumes that record their findings were aimed at both scholarly and popular audiences. The images the visitors created have both aesthetic and documentary value, as many of the places and objects they picture no longer exist or are now significantly changed. Above all, the images allow their viewers to travel across space and time, as though looking through an obsidian mirror to the worlds of the Aztecs, Maya, and other peoples of Pre-Columbian Mexico. [García y Cubas’ archaeological] map charts the major archaeological sites of Mexico. It is bordered at top and bottom by an assemblage of significant Pre-Columbian artifacts, such as the colossal statue of the Aztec goddess Coatlicue; the Aztec Calendar Stone, and the Stone of Tizoc; along its sides are scenes of archaeological sites, including Palenque, Uxmal, Chichén-Itzá, Mitla, and Xochicalco.


Sold. Hammer: $8,000.00; Price Realized:$9,800.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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