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Special Exhibition Label: 'Al-Mizan: Sciences and Arts in the Islamic World' (26/10/2010 - 20/03/2011)

Metalwork Techniques

A Unique Sphere

This Eastern Islamic spherical astrolabe of 1480/1 is the only complete spherical astrolabe to survive in the world. In addition, it is a finely worked decorative object. The brass globe is made of two hemispheres that neatly screw together. Its inscriptions and lines are damascened: fine wires of silver have been inlaid into previously incised lines. The enclosing rete, which must rotate smoothly on the perfectly round sphere, is also of brass, with silver applied as a surface for engraving.

MHS inv. 49687 (right)

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