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Inventory no. 82828 - Epact entry

Epact number: 78399

Diptych Dial

Signed by Hans Tucher
Dated 1567; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 61x 94 x 11 mm

Main text

This dial has a wind rose, a table of latitudes and dials for Italian, Babylonian and Nuremberg hours. As in other diptych dials there is an inscription about the use of the instrument, in this case the instruction is about the adjustment of the string gnomon dial.

On the outer side of the lower leaf there is also an indication about the magnetic properties of the compass.



Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 82,828



Detailed text

The outer part of the upper leaf has a wind rose with 16 directions, compass viewing hole and at the centre the inscription '15 67 HA|N|S DVCHER' and a pin gnomon dial (pin missing) with common hours numbered from 7 to 12 to 5. At the top is a table with 10 towns and latitudes and in the spandrel spaces is decoration of foliage and the names of the cardinal points.

The inner part of the upper leaf has the inscription '|N|VR|N|BERGER VR' and a pin gnomon dial with Nuremberg hours numbered from 0 to 10. On the side is a motif of sun, stars and clouds. Below are the inscriptions 'DIE MIDTLER VR E GEHERDT ZV DEM FADEN' 'DIE INDER VR GEHERDT ZV DEM LEDTERLEIN DAS AVSDER SEITEN STEDT DA 40 50 60 GRAT STEDT' ('the middle dial belongs to the string...the inner dial to the small spike which protrudes from the side where it reads 40 50 60 degrees'). The string dial has common hours numbered from 7 to 12 to 5. A number 9 had been marked by mistake instead of the 7. Below is a pin gnomon equatorial dial (pin missing) with common hours marked from 6 to 12 to 6. There are foliate motifs on the corners and a brass arm on the left side.

The inner side of the lower leaf has a compass (ring and needle missing) with the cardinal points marked 'SEP', 'ORI', 'MER', 'OCCI', and a string gnomon dial for common hours numbered from 4 to 12 to 8. Below is a pin gnomon dial with Italian hours numbered from 9 to 23 and inscribed with the names of the four cardinal points. On the left hand side is the scale for the equatorial dial marked from 40° to 60° by 2°, numbered by 10°. On the bottom edge is a compartment for stowing the pin (cover missing) and on the left-hand side a compartment for the wind vane (missing).

On the outer side of the lower leaf is a table with 31 towns and latitudes, four bun feet at the centre of six-leaf flowers and at the bottom the inscription 'WE|N| EI|N| COMBAST·RE CHT·SOL WEISE|N|·SO RICHT I|N| |N|IT BEI EISE|N|'. Below is the maker's mark (a crowned snake) punched twice.

See P. Gouk, The Ivory Sundials of Nuremberg 1500-1700 (Cambridge, 1988).

Ilaria Meliconi

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