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Diptych Dial
Attributed to a Thomas Tucher
circa 1600; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 87 x 122 x 14 mm

The outer part of the upper leaf has a wind rose with 32 directions, a compass viewing hole and brass index arm. In the spandrel spaces and on the sides is foliate decoration in green and brown, and four bun feet.

The inner part of the upper leaf has a pin gnomon dial with common hours numbered from VII to XII to V, length of the day and declination of the sun indicated by the symbols of the zodiacal signs. Below is a circular decoration around the holes for adjusting the string to the latitudes 42?, 48? and 54?, indicated by the inscription 'POLVS HEG'. On the sides is a decoration with fruits and flowers, also in green and brown. Below is a table with 17 towns and latitudes.

The inner side of the lower leaf has a compass with the cardinal points marked 'S', 'ORI ENS', 'M', 'OCCI DENS' with a fleur-de-lis for the north and the maker's mark (a crowned snake) punched twice. The string gnomon dial is for common hours for the aforementioned latitudes, numbered respectively 4 to 12 to 8, IIII to XII to VIII and 4 to 12 to 8, to the half hours except for the latitude 54? which is to the quarter hour. The latitude is indicated 'POLLVS HEG'. Below are two scaphe dials, the left one for Italian hours numbered in red from 9 to 23 and 'P 45 G', the right one for Babylonian hours numbered in black from 1 to 15 and 'P 48 G'. Both scaphes have a sun effigy at the bottom, and foliate decoration fills the side of the leaf.

The outer side of the lower leaf has a lunar volvelle marked 'NACHT VHR' and a table of epacts starting 17 / 7. The same foliate decoration as in the other sides and four bun feet are in the spandrel spaces. The left edge of the lower leaf has a compartment for the wind vane (missing).

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

Ilaria Meliconi

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 46994

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