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Inventory no. 70429 - Epact entry

Epact number: 71821

Diptych Dial

Unsigned
Dated 1543; Nuremberg ?
Ivory and brass; 55 x 87 x 14 mm

Main text

This is a very early dial, whose maker's mark has not been identified.

The inscription on the inner side of the lower leaf is a little obscure but probably refers to the precision of the dial for all the latitudes where it can be used.



Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 70, 429



Detailed text

The outer side of the upper face has a table of latitudes for 14 towns and a pin gnomon dial (pin missing) for hours marked 1 to 12 twice. In the spandrel spaces is a decoration in the form of tiny circles and curved lines.

The inner side of the upper leaf has the date '15 43' on the top and a pin gnomon dial (pin missing) for Italian hours, numbered in green-blue from 14 to 24. Below is a vertical string gnomon dial (string missing) for common hours numbered from 7 to 12 to 5 and below, a pin gnomon dial (pin missing) for common hours numbered in red from 6 to 12 to 6. At the bottom of the leaf is the inscription 'GOT ALLEI|N| |D|IE ERR'. In the spandrel spaces is the same decoration as on the outer side and on the right is an unequal scale for adjusting the latitudes, marked in red from 30° to 80° by 2°, numbered by 10°.

The inner side of the lower face has a compass vane (needle, ring and glass missing) with eight main winds named and a string gnomon dial for common hours numbered from 4 to 12 to 8 with dots for the half hours. Below, is a pin gnomon dial with Italian hours numbered in green from 10 to 23 and Babylonian hours numbered in red from 1 to 14. At the bottom is the inscription 'IS EX AD S{E}XTVM CLIMA HOROLOG I V I|N|TEGRV ('this is a dial precise to the 6th clima', probably referring to the climates as defined by Ptolemy). On the right-hand side is a brass arm for adjusting the latitude.

The outer side of the lower leaf is blank except for the maker's mark in the form of a sheep. The bottom edge of the lower leaf has a compartment for stowing the pin.

See P. Gouk, The Ivory Sundials of Nuremberg 1500-1700 (Cambridge, 1988).

Ilaria Meliconi

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