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Inventory no. 64221 - Epact entry

Epact number: 94291

Diptych Dial

Signed by Paul Reinmann
Dated 1578; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 43 x 80 x 11 mm

Main text

In the spandrel spaces of the outer side of the upper leaf of this dial are engraved four figures of men using astronomical time-telling devices: a cylinder dial, a diptych dial, an armillary sphere and an astrolabe.

On the inner side of the upper leaf is a vignette of a putto with his arm resting on a skull (symbol of the approach of death). On the outer side of the lower leaf is represented a woman in Greek style veil (perhaps a Vestal virgin?) holding a pot of flowers, framed by a decorated arch and border. On the bottom is punched the maker's mark (a coronet).



Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 64,221



Detailed text

The outer part of the upper leaf has a wind rose with 16 directions and eight winds named, and a compass viewing hole. The wind vane and index arm are missing. In the spandrel spaces are engraved four figures of men using instruments: (clockwise from top) a cylinder dial, a diptych dial, an armillary sphere and an astrolabe, with a moon effigy at the top centre.

The inner part of the upper leaf has a decorative motif of circles and stars above a pin gnomon dial (pin missing) for Italian hours numbered in red from 13 to 24. The string gnomon dial with common hours numbered from 6 to 12 to 6 in brown, encloses a vignette of a putto with his arm resting on a skull and the inscription '|star| PAVLVS |circle| REINMAN |star| ZV |circle| NORMBERG |star|'. At the bottom of the leaf is the date '15 |star| |star| 78'.

The inner part of the lower leaf has a compass bowl (glass, ring and needle missing) enclosed in a decoration and a string gnomon dial with common hours numbered from 4 to 12 to 8 in red. A decoration of leaves is in the spandrel spaces. Below is a pin gnomon dial for Babylonian hours numbered from 1 to 15 and with motifs of stars.

On the outer part of the lower leaf is a picture of a woman in Greek style veil (a Vestal virgin?) holding a pot of flowers framed by a decorated arch and border. On the bottom is punched the maker's mark (a coronet).

All the edges carry geometrical decoration and on the left of the lower leaf is a compartment for the wind vane.

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

Ilaria Meliconi

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