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Inventory no. 72160 - Epact entry

Epact number: 16211

Diptych Dial

Signed by Paul Reinmann
Dated 1603; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 55 x 96 x 15 mm

Main text

This is a typical Paul Reinmann diptych dial: the motifs of blowing faces, symbolising the winds, and the decorative frame with half moon and stars are characteristic of this maker.

Unusual is the brass plate in the centre of the inner side of the upper leaf, with common hours marked 1 to 12 twice.

The quality of the dial is also shown by the mark 'n' (for Nuremberg) punched by sworn masters of the compass makers' guild on good instruments.

Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 72,160

Detailed text

The outer part of the upper leaf has a wind rose (wind vane missing) with 32 directions and compass viewing hole, combined with a pierced lunar volvelle with a six-leaf flower at the centre, with lunar date and time correction. The cardinal points are marked, and a table of epacts beginning in 1603 is engraved. At the top is engraved a decoration with moon and star motifs typical of Reinmann.

The inner part of the upper leaf has a pin gnomon dial with the length of the day marked in red from 8 to 16 and the declination of the sun indicated by zodiacal symbols. At the bottom is the date '1603'. Below it is a string gnomon dial with common hours marked VI to XII to VI and lines and dots for the half and quarter hours, and a circular brass plate as the southern side of an equatorial dial marked 1 to 12 twice. At the bottom of the leaf is the signature 'PAVLVS·REINMAN·FACIEBAT' in red. On the right edge of the leaf is the brass arm for adjusting the latitude.

The inner part of the lower leaf has a compass with the cardinal points marked 'SE', 'OR', 'ME' and 'OC'. The compass is encircled by the hour lines of a string gnomon dial with common hours marked from 4 to 12 to 8 with dots and lines for the half and quarter hours. In the upper spandrels are blowing faces and coloured stars. Below is a scaphe gnomon dial for Italian hours marked in brown from 8 to 23 and Babylonian hours marked in red from 1 to 16. The scaphe is decorated with a six-leaf flower and four stars in the corners.

The sides of the leaf carry the same decoration of half moons and stars as in the upper leaf. On the right edge is a brass scale with a scale of latitudes, from 20° to 60° divided by 2° and numbered by 10°. On the same edge is a compartment for stowing the pin whereas on the left edge is a compartment for the wind vane (missing).

On the outer part of the lower leaf is a table of latitudes for 40 towns and the maker's mark (a coronet) with the quality mark 'n' for Nuremberg.

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

Ilaria Meliconi

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