This weighty and elaborately decorated instrument includes a remarkable series of reliefs showing surveyors at work with a variety of mathematical instruments. As well as Western European figures, many of the surveyors wear Ottoman costume.
The instrument would have dignified any 16th-century princely collection, but its original recipient is unknown. However, it was presented to the Bodleian Library in Oxford as early as 1601.
At that time this instrument, with its tables for determining distances, was already accompanied by a level, which still survives.