History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search


Astronomical mechanisms

In 1232, Sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf Musa, the dedicatee of the 'Abd al-Karim astrolabe (inv. 37148), sent Emperor Frederick II "a kind of planetarium in which astral bodies worked in gold and jewels moved in their orbits by a hidden mechanism" (see Rachel Ward, "The Inscription on the Astrolabe by 'Abd al-Karim in the British Museum", Muqarnas, 21: Essays in Honor of J. M. Rogers (2004), 345-357, p. 356 n. 29, citing Eva Baer, Ayyubid Metalwork with Christian Images (Studies in Islamic art and architecture, 4) (Leiden: Brill, 1989), p. 45 and note 27.

This could be a conceivable (if somewhat overblown) description of the geared astrolabe, or something very similar.

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