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

Courtly Culture

Outside the Heavens

This Persian celestial globe was made for a certain Muhammad ibn A'il, who must have been a substantial patron. It is signed by Ja'far ibn 'Umar ibn Dawlatshah al-Kirmani and dated 1362/3. Constellations as well as individual stars are portrayed, along with a record of the source for their positions: the stars were drawn according to al-Sufi's Book of the Fixed Stars, a copy of which is displayed below. A further note adds that due allowance has been made for the precessional change in their longitude, since the globe was made approximately 400 years after the completion of the book. Al-Sufi's work depicts each constellation twice, once as seen from the earth and a second time as it appears on the outside of a celestial globe, as here.

MHS inv. 44790 (left)

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