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Inventory no. 42021 - Epact entry

Epact number: 28498

Diptych Dial

Signed by Hans Troschel
circa 1600; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 82 x 52 x 14 mm

Main text

The vignette on the inner side of the upper leaf of this diptych dial represents a putto with his arm resting on a skull, as a reminder of death, and a sandglass in his right hand. Below it, the inscription reads 'HORA FVGIT MORS VENIT' ('time runs away, death comes').

This image contrasts with the other vignette, at the bottom of the inner side of the lower leaf, which represents a pelican feeding her young (a symbol of Redemption).

The outer part of the lower leaf is emblazoned with a coat of arms, which has not yet been identified. This shield and crest probably belonged to the owner or the dedicatee of the dial.



Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 42,021



Detailed text

This dial is in the form of a book with clasps.

The outer part of the upper leaf is blank except for a black two-lined frame.

The inner part of the upper leaf has a pin gnomon dial (pin missing) with the length of the day marked from 8 to 16 and the declination of the sun indicated by the symbols of the zodiacal signs. On the top it is inscribed 'QVANTI:TAS DIEIĀ·' and at the bottom there is a vignette, coloured in red and green, of a putto with his arm resting on a skull and a sand glass in his right hand. Below it, the inscription reads 'HORA FVGIT MORS VENIT' ('the time runs away, death comes').

The inner side of the lower leaf has a compass (needle, ring and glass missing) and a pin gnomon dial with Italian hours marked in black from 9 to 23 and Babylonian hours marked in red from 1 to 15, inscribed 'HORAE AB ORTV ET OCCASV |star|'. The solstices are inscribed 'SOLSTICIVM AESTIVVM |star|' and 'SOLSTICIVM HIEMALE |star|', and the symbols of the zodiacal signs are engraved on the right and left sides indicating the declination of the sun. At the top of the leaf is the signature 'HANS TROSCHEL |star|' and at the bottom a vignette with a pelican feeding her young (a symbol of the Redemption).

The outer part of the lower leaf has an unidentified coat-of-arms, with a shield (party per fess, in chief an eagle displayed, in base a tower with a bordure compony) and crest (a coroneted helm with mantling, surmounted by a gryphon rampant).

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

Ilaria Meliconi

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