This map is in the style of a sea-chart with compass-roses, wind-faces and navigation (or ‘rhumb’) lines, but it was clearly a work of art not intended for use at sea. It is highly unusual in its dual orientation; north of the equator texts and figures are inverted, suggesting that it was specifically designed to be spread out and viewed around a large table.
Around 90 degrees of longitude is missing, covering the Pacific Ocean. Despite Magellan’s historic voyage of 1519-1522, the geography of the Pacific region was still entirely unknown. The Desceliers map is a Renaissance version of the medieval mappa mundi, a visual encyclopedia, composed of text and images.
Desceliers was one of several cartographers who worked in Normandy from the 1540s to the 1560s, who are sometimes collectively referred to as the “Dieppe School” of mapmakers, and one thing that sets him apart from his peers is his greater interest in Asia.
Text source: The British Library