The Fool’s Cap Map of the World
The Fool’s Cap Map of the World, circa 1580-1590, depicting the world as a foolish place with the jest’s penchant for mocking majesty and speaking truth to power.
This rather sinister image is one of the biggest mysteries in the history of western cartography. Most often referred to simply as the Fool’s Cap Map of the World, it is unknown why, when, where and by whom it was made. The only thing that can be said about it with some certainty is that it dates from ca. 1580-1590.
The uncomfortable truth told by this map is that the world is a sombre, irrational and dangerous place, and that life on it is nasty, brutish and short. The world is, quite literally, a foolish place.