Astrolabe Catalogue

astrolabe, inventory number 33411 from India, 17th century
thumbnail for astrolabe (front), inventory number 33411 from India, 17th century
thumbnail for astrolabe (back), inventory number 33411 from India, 17th century
thumbnail for astrolabe (rete front), inventory number 33411 from India, 17th century
Date17th century
Inventory no.33411
AcquisitionPresented by A.E. Gunther in 1986

The inclusion of a latitude plate for 90 degrees - the North Pole - indicates that this instrument was intended for instruction as well as use. It would have been striking and memorable for a student of astronomy to have seen from such a plate, with its zenith coinciding with the pole and its horizon with the equator, that for half the year - rotating the rete through 24 hours - the sun never sets and for half it never rises. This educational purpose is suggested also by the inclusion of a composite plate, for latitudes 0, 48 and 72 degrees, and by the great deal of information squeezed on to the plates in general.

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Throne, Ring and Shackle

The throne is of the indo-persian, broad type made of brass attached with integrated base made of brass and has a simple, round cross-section ring made of brass and trefoil type shackle made of brass . More information


The mater and limb are of one-piece construction. The tab that holds the plates from rotating is located at the bottom of the instrument, i.e., 180° from the throne. Scales on the limb: degree scale. More information


The back contains 15 scales of the following types: Altitude; Sine/Cosine; Declination; Prayer lines; Cotangent; Lunar Mansions; Zodiacal signs; Terms; Faces; Shadow square; Triplicities. More information

Rete, Pin & Horse

The rete contains 46 stars. The zodiac on the rete is labelled: الحمل , الثور , الجوزا , السرطان , الاسد , السنبله , الميزان , العقرب , القوس , الجدي , الدلو , الحوت .

The rete contains 1 scale of the following type: Ecliptic.
The rete is attached using a pin & horse. More information


There are 7 plates with latitudes ranging from 18°0' to 90°0' . More information

Rules & Alidades

Type Details
AlidadeDouble-ended. This alidade has a sighting rule like many of the Indian instruments. The alidade might be a later replacement; the metal is distinctly different.
More information


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