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Diptych Dial
Signed by Christian Heiden
Dated 1569; Nuremberg
Ivory and gilt brass; 74 x 85 x 11 mm

This is a very fine dial given by the maker as a gift to Thomas Loffelholtz, a member of a distinguished Nuremberg patrician family who became an 'elder Mayor' in 1565. From this group were elected the seven persons responsible for all the financial and political aspects of the government of the city.

His appointment was therefore a perfect occasion for Christian Heiden to present a luxury gift that would also be useful. Just like a presentation gold watch today, the object had both a practical and symbolic meaning for the recipient.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 80277

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