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Inventory no. 83993 - Epact entry

Epact number: 36946

Diptych Dial

circa 1600 ?; Spanish ?
Ivory and silver; 64 x 68 x 22 mm

Main text

This dial has simple geometrical decoration on the borders of its ivory leaves, but its compass card is finely painted in red, blue and silver. A fleur-de-lis marks the north, and the needle is also finely made.

Painted compass cards were typical of Spanish and Italian dials, hence the attribution of this example.

Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 83,993

Detailed text

The outer side of the upper leaf has a pin gnomon dial (pin missing) for common hours marked 1 to 12 twice, and coloured in green, red and blue. This decoration is also on the border and there are concentric circles in the centre.

The inner side of the upper leaf has the same pattern and an unequal scale for latitudes on the right, marked in red from 0° to 80°, divided to 1° and numbered by 5°.

The inner side of the lower leaf has a compass bowl with paper compass card, silvered and painted, and a horizontal string gnomon dial for common hours marked 5 to 12 to 7. The same decoration as in the upper leaf is on the borders. The arm for adjusting the latitude is on the right side and on the left edge of the leaf is the compartment for stowing the pin.

The same geometrical decoration is on the edges and on the outer part of the lower leaf.

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

Ilaria Meliconi

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