History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Narratives

Exhibition Label: 'Moonstruck' (14/10/2014 - 1/2/2015) - temporary display about the moon

The Power of the Moon

The idea that the celestial bodies (Sun, Moon, stars and planets) influence what happens on Earth is central to the study of astrology. This astrolabe from the Islamic world shows different astrological systems arranged in rings. The innermost one depicts the 28 lunar mansions, a division of the path of the Moon into 28 parts. Each of these lunar mansions consists of a group of stars (similar to the signs of the Zodiac) that is thought to have a powerful effects on life on Earth.

The small silver crescent moon represents the Moon’s power in folk culture.
It is an amulet from Southern Italy worn to provide magical protection. It
defends against the so-called 'Evil Eye', the ancient and very widespread belief that a person
can be influenced simply by a look from another person's eyes.

Astrolabe, by Abd al-Karim, Jazira (Mesopotamia)?, 1227/8; inv. 37148

Crescent Moon Amulet, Southern Italian; inv. 49023

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