Thursday, April 10, 2008

Valinor map

Maps are mere allegories of the world. I am fascinated by the cartography of paradise in this map of Valinor (the elvendom west of the Sea in Middle-Earth) by the late Karen Wynn Fonstad:

Fonstad strikes an intriguing compromise between the urge to map Paradise and so delimit the undefinable, and the desire to convey the beauty of Paradise as a blossom-open, uncontainable experience unfiltered by the dry map. The little framed boxes fail to contain their images, which, maplike though they remain, are also evocative and suggestive of the beauty of the woods of Orome or the pools of Este. This map strives to provide both chart and illustration, both the technical and the artistic, the flesh and the soul; it evokes both the engineer's and the poet's discovery of paradise.

How does one draw a map of paradise?

For more of the attempt to detail or describe paradise, see TheOneRing.Net's Grand Tour of Valinor. For more Karen Wynn Fonstad, check out her geographies of Middle-Earth, Pern, and Thomas Covenant's The Land.

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