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Inventory no. 36338 - Former Display Label

6
Gothic (Semi-quatrefoil type) ASTROLABE
?late 14th century

Unsigned and undated. Brass.

Rete for c.thirty-four stars. The design of the rete includes semi-quatrefoil (also called, 'trefoil') pattern within the ecliptic circle; the star-pointers are of the 'wavy flame' type. Two plates: the latitudes for which these were intended were not originally marked, but on one plate the latitudes 47° and 48° have been scratched; the other plate was made for latitudes c.40° and 50°. The almucantars are at intervals of 5°, except on the projection for latitude 48°, where the interval is 4°; the plates are all marked with azimuths. The astrolabe is equipped with both rule and alidade; le sights of the alidade are notched, perhaps for use with a sightingabe.

On the back are engraved the usual scales of degrees, a shadow-square, an unequal hour diagram and a zodiac/calendar scale (0° Aries = 12 March; eccentric type). The astrolabe is equipped with both rule and alidade; the sights of the alidade are notched, perhaps for use with a sighting-tube.

The lettering is Lombardic throughout. In the mater is roughly engraved a coat-of-arms; Lozengy, gules and or, in chief a heart gules between two mullets.

Astrolabes with 'semiquatrefoil' or 'trefoil' rete are probably of the earliest type of design, differing from the Hispano-Moorish pattern, which was developed in medieval Europe. They date from c.1260 until c.1360, when the 'Y' type of Gothic astrolabe became common.

[57-84/174]
Billmeir Collection

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