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Diptych Dial
Signed by Hans Tucher
circa 1600; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 130 x 94 x 12 mm

The inscriptions are stamped and filled with brown, black and red colouring.

The outer surface of the upper leaf has a windrose with winds indicated by 16 faces, eight of which are labelled as follows: 'nort WIND', 'nort ost', 'ost WIND', 'suid ost', 'suid WIND', 'suid west', 'west WIND', 'nort WEST'. An index arm and a wind vane are missing. The wind roes has a compass viewing hole. In the field above the wind rose is the text 'CAMPASSVS WEG WEISSER GENANDT' . In an outside border is the inscription 'HIC MARINVS COMPASSVS SEMITAM TERRA RMARIQUE [sic] OSTENDIT'.

The inner surface of the upper leaf consists of two pin gnomon dials for day length ('QUANTITAS DEI'), for latitude 44? ('POLVS 44 G') on the left and for latitude 51? ('POLVS 51 G') on the right, indicating Italian hours (numbered 8 to 16) and the zodiacal symbols. Between the two dials is an oval with three string attachments for (from the top) 54?, 48? and 42?. The string is missing. The oval stands on a stylized globe which itself surmounts a comet-tail-shaped decoration. Left and right of this decoration is the text 'POLVS CAMPASSVS IN ALLE LAND'. In the bottom right corner are the letters 'H D' for Hans Tucher separated by his maker's mark, a crowned serpent. Above the dials is the text 'ILLA CVSPIS INDICAT IN CREMENTVM ET DECREMENTVM DIEI ET DVODECIM SIGNA'. The letters 'ID' above 'INDICAT' and 'SA' after 'SIGNA' have not been filled with colour (or the colour has been removed) and seem to be mistakes. In a border is the inscription 'COMPASSVS PROPE FERRVM NON RECTE ASSIGNARE POTEST'.

The outer surface of the lower leaf has a string gnomon dial for German hours ('TEVTSCH VHR AVFF POLVS GRADVS') with three scales for latitudes (from the outside) 54?, 48? and 42?. Inset is a compass bowl, the glass and compass needle now missing. The brass compass dial has the four cardinal points in Latin as follows, eight blowing faces indicate further directions. The deviation is circa 4? E. On the lower half are two pin gnomon dials for Babylonian hours ('WELSCH VHR' and 'BEHMISCH VHR'), numbered 10 to 23, on the left for latitude 44? ('POLVS 44 GRADVS') and on the right for latitude 50? ('POLVS 50 GRADVS'). The zodiacal symbols for the equinoxes and the solstice are given.

The inner surface of the lower leaf has a lunar volvelle called 'COMPASSVS NOCTVRNVS' consisting of: a stamped scale, numbered 1 to 29, a fixed silver dial numbered twice 1 to 12 and a rotating brass dial with an index arm with a small crescent and a circular cut out showing the phases of the moon, numbered twice 1 to 12 and marked 'NACHTVHR'. The brass dial is decorated with a crescent and two stars. Around the dial are the phases of the moon indicated with symbols and marked as ' PLENI LVNIUM, PRIMA QUARTA, NOVI LVNIVM, VLTIMA QUARTA'. Above the dial are the letters 'H D' for Hans Tucher seperated by his trade mark, the crowned serpent. In a border is the inscription 'COMPASSVS PROPE FERRVM NON RECTE ASSIGNARE POTEST der sp?ter sol nichts ver achten den er fins besser machen'.

There are three brass feet in a triangle shape.

The instrument was presented by A.W. Franks in 1871 and is described in F. A. B. Ward, A catalogue of European Scientific Instruments in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities of the British Museum (London, 1981), p. 38, no. 86.

Silke Ackermann

British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1871,11-15.17

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