SCANNING THE MAPPA TURCHESCA

Venice, 2019

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Factum Foundation has recorded the cherry-wood printing blocks (matrices) of the 16th-century “Mappa Turchesca”, in an ARCHiVe project undertaken together with two students from the Università Iuav di Venezia (IUAV). This project was done in collaboration with the Photogrammetric Laboratory of the IUAV University of Venice, which has a research convention with the Biblioteca Marciana. 

The heart-shaped map, now in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, has text in both Arabic and Ottoman Turkish and was probably designed by Venetian cartographers for sale to Ottoman buyers. The recording will allow damaged portions of the map to be digitally restored and printed in 3D.

© Factum Foundation

For their master thesis, Mario Costa and Fabio Martinello, students from the Master of Digital Architecture who have interned at ARCHiVe in Venice and Factum Foundation in Madrid, conducted comparative tests between different recording techniques: photogrammetry, laser scanning, and Factum’s Lucida scanner. They determined that the most accurate data was that provided by the Lucida scanner. Having scanned the map with Factum’s help, they will process this data to digitally restore the matrices, allowing the creation of digital and physical versions without the marks of decay which make it hard to decipher the surface of the original.

© Factum Foundation

© Factum Foundation

© Factum Foundation

While the Ottoman Turkish text around the map claims that it is the work of a slave from Tunis called Hajji Ahmed, the distinctively European heart shape and several errors in the Ottoman Turkish and in the Arabic used for the place-names make it likely that the map was a fully Venetian production – albeit an extraordinary testament to the complex ways links between Venetian and Ottoman empires in a period of great trans-Mediterranean trade and connectivity.

© Factum Foundation

A sample of the 3D data captured by the Lucida. © Factum Foundation

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