Verbiest's Prints

In the exhibition we were able to present only a selection from Ferdinand Verbiest’s Xinzhi Yixiangtu. All 105 of the prints are available here. Click on a thumbnail for larger versions, or choose a group from the list of themes such as astronomy and mechanics.

Theme: Instrument making [17]

Moulds for casting bronze rings and, in the foreground, an explanation of the specific gravity of solids Illustration of an upright flywheel (left) and of polishing the rim of a wheel (right) Use of a donkey milling-machine to smooth the faces of the rings of an instrument and an illustration of the mounting of the scraping knives (lower left) Use of a whetstone with an automatic water reservoir and an illustration of the scraping knives being sharpened Use of a donkey milling-machine to polish the faces of the rings of an instrument Method used for finding centre point of a bronze ring with a beam compass Method used for determining the inner and outer edges of the ring Trimming of the edges of the ring (right), filing and fine polish of the ring (left), and tools (file, hammer, chisel, and grindstone) used in the processes (bottom) Testing of finished ring for balance (left) and levelness (right) Method used to cut the surface of a celestial globe, where two people turn the globe (one with crank, other with their feet) and two grind the sphere Beam compasses (right and left), and the preperation of a graduated scale on a large ring (centre) Tools used to cut screws A variety of tools, including box spanners, pincers, cable fasteners, and clamps Illustrations of the use of set-screws on instruments and implements Gearwheels used to power the rotation of Verbiest Illustration showing how screws save energy (top) and two nuts and bolts, as used on the instruments (bottom) Illustration of the law of forces for inclined planes (top) and the application of screws and gears to conserve energy in the operation of an instrument, e.g. turning a globe (bottom)