Inventory no. 44991 - Former Display Label
Eastern Islamic GAUGE, purpose unknown
?c. A.D. 1200
Signed, along one side: 'Made by Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Isfahni', not dated. Along the other side is inscribed: 'There is no god but God [and] Muhammad is the Prophet of God'. Brass. Overall length: 88 mm.; overall width: 17 mm.
The gauge is displayed open, with the two end-stops in their fully open, vertical, position. Whatever was to be measured was placed against one of the vertical end-stops, and the appropriate division, on the scale between the stops, read off. The scale is numbered, on either side, in both directions, in abjad (i.e. the letters of the Arabic alphabet used numerically) from 1 to 19, plus one additional number, which appears to be different on either side, and is not easily readable. The end-stops are rotatable, on the flush pivots, through 270° to close, like the blades of a penknife, in the recesses on the opposite side. The voided decoration is unusual, and may be Egyptian, despite the maker's nisba. Holes in the end-stops suggest that a cord, or cords, were originally intended to be attached (as here).