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

The outer part of the upper leaf has a complex pierced lunar volvelle with aspectarium, saint's days calendar and zodiac signs. Two smaller discs in the lower spandrels show a table of epacts and the solar cycle from 1559 to 1587.

The inner part of the upper leaf has at the top a rectangular brass plate with the inscription 'M.V.D. Thomas Loffelholtz. patricio Norib: cons: in Septu: senatum electo. devotae gratulatio: ergo. d.d. christianus heide Anno M.D.L.X.IX octobris XXVII' ('for the Master, the Right Honourable Thomas Loffelholtz, patrician of the Nuremberg Council, the elect to the Council of the Seven Lords Elders, loyal congratulations: therefore Christian Heiden gave the gift in the year 1559, on the 25th of October'). A small circular mirror is inserted into the leaf and fixed by a twisted gilt brass ring. The vertical string gnomon dial has common hours marked from VI to XII to VI with dots for the quarter hour.

The inner part of the lower leaf has a compass bowl (needle and ring missing) with a gilt brass plate engraved with an orthographic projection of the sphere and zodiac signs. The dial has common hours marked from IIII to XII to VIII with dots for the half-hours.

The outer part of the lower leaf is blank, and on the four edges are engraved the names of the four cardinal points, 'SEPTENTRIO', 'MERIDIES', 'ORTVS', 'OCCASVS'.

See P. Gouk, The Ivory Sundials of Nuremberg 1500-1700 (Cambridge, 1988), p. 125.

Ilaria Meliconi

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 80277

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