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Inventory no. 51182 - Former Display Label

22
Persian ASTROLABE
911 A.H. = 1505/6 A.D.

Signed, on the back, 'The servant, yearning for God the forgiving, Shams ad-dîn Muhammad Saffâr, finished the making of this astrolabe in the year nine hundred and eleven [A.H.]'. Brass.

{ain}Ankabût for twenty-seven stars; an-nasr al-waqî ('the falling vulture' = {alpha} Lyræ), a star within the ecliptic circle, is represented in the tracery of the {ain}ankabût by a cut-out and engraved figure of a bird. Three plates: (a) for latitudes 30° and 32°, (b) on one side combined projections for 24° and 66°30', and on the other, a tablet of horizons, with a projection for latitude 90° occupying one quadrant of the circle, (c) on one side a projection for latitude 36°, with dotted lines indicating Babylonian hours (horæ ab ortu solis), in addition to the usual unequal (planetary) hour lines, and on the other side combined projections for latitudes 34°30' and 38°. In the umm are engraved concentric circular tables giving the latitude, longitude and inhirâf (for ascertaining the azimuth of the Qibla at Mecca) of thirty-six towns.

On the back are engraved a sine graph, the arcs of the signs of the zodiac, an unusual graph showing the length of day and night throughout the year for latitude 32°, and the usual shadow-square and scale of degrees. The alidade is unusual; it is cruciform (with arms of equal length), two of the arms being curved, and on each arm there were a pair of sights (one sight is now missing).

This astrolabe conforms to the characteristic style of Muhammad Saffâr. Another astrolabe by Muhammad Saffâr is also shown here.

Formerly in the Chadenat Collection.

[57-84/158; Mayer, Muhammad Saffâr V]
Billmeir Collection

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