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: Instruments [55]

The Beijing observatory as re-equipped by Ferdinand Verbiest Ecliptic armillary sphere Equatorial armillary sphere Azimuth instrument Quadrant Sextant Celestial globe Detail of sight and transversal divisions for astronomical instruments (above) and a sector being used with dividers (below) Sighting devices, including an alidade and a rule. The instruments in the background are a trigometre (right), what could be a specialist surveying instrument or simply the back of an astrolabe (centre), and a triangular surveying instrument, possibly a beam compass (left). Diagonal scales with transversal divisions, with an illustration of a dividers in use to take off or measure precise dimensions Transversal scales on the limbs of an armillary sphere and the sextant The celestial globe in use. Note the disembodied hands setting the base of the instrument, with a spanner on the right Explanation of the centre of gravity of different planes and solids The back of an astrolabe (upside down) and a geometrical solid, to show that the object will be in equilibrium when suspended through the centre of gravity Illustration of the centres of gravity and stability of instruments, people, and creatures The centres of gravity of a sextant of Tycho Brahe The centre of gravity of birds in flight, on ground, and at rest (top and right) and of an astronomical instrument suspended on pulleys (left) The centre of gravity of trees (right) and a grid square (left) An assembled ecliptic armillary sphere A simple clinometer (left), set square with plumb line for use as a level (middle), and plumb line with ruler (right) Dividers with arcs (top), fixed proportional dividers (bottom left), proportional dividers (bottom middle), and simple dividers (bottom right) Single-handed compasses with caliper blade inserts (left), basic calipers (bottom middle), and cylindrical compasses for measuring spheres and tubes (right) Beam compasses (right and left), and the preperation of a graduated scale on a large ring (centre) Dividers of various construction with a variety of blade inserts Triangular beam compass (left) and three-legged dividers (right) Use of a fixed divider to graduate a globe to correspond to its meridian ring, also illustrations of two similar dividers (bottom) Use of dividers (left) and a grid square (right) Scale rulers/sectors Use of scale rulers/sectors (top background) and a stencil drawing compass with a variety of stencils (lower foreground) Use of a graduated tracers on a sphere (top left) and a horizontal ring (bottom left), the use of dividers to measure height of a central point (right top), the use of a set square and plumb bob as level (right bottom), and an illustration of a graduated tracer with round engraving point (middle) An elliptical compass (top left), drawing an ellipsis with a rope (middle left), instrument to engrave parallel lines (bottom left), an instrument for drawing conic sections (top right), and drawing a curve using a tracer and rope (bottom right) Illustration about how to set parallel lines (right) and a drawing instrument (left) Pantometer or Graphometer A three-faced clock (left) and the simple pendulum (right) Diagrams of lifting arrangements and how to lift a quadrant arm with ropes and a crown block (bottom middle) A quadrant (left), and a lifting system using an inclined plane compared to one without the inclined plane (right) Illustration of lifting on two parallel lines (left) and the practical application of the principle (right) Use of parallel poles to hold a sextant in equilibrium Illustrations of lifting on two non-parallel lines to show that they meet at the centre of gravity (right & left) and the application of the principle to the support of a globe (centre) Illustration of how to move heavy items sideways by the use of pulleys Illustration of principles needed to find the centre of gravity of a quadrangle (bottom middle) and the application of the principle to mounting and lifting sextants and quadrants Diagrammatic representation of the north-south line on a sphere (top right), a ecliptical-equatorial instrument based on the same principles (top left), and an illustration of the corrected north-south line (bottom) Armillary sphere in use Horizontal ring in use Quadrant in use The use of pulleys in operating sextants and quadrants Illustration of travelers to show that they are guided by the directions indicated by a compass, with the parts of a compass shown Illustration of a portolan chart and the practice of sailing along rhumb lines, and the use of an astrolabe and cross-staff to measure latitude Method of leveling (top) and an illustration of a leveling instrument (bottom) Measuring the height of a rainbow usng a quadrant (left), and the diameter of the solar corona and/or lunar halos using a astronomical ring (right) Method to measure the height of clouds with a suspended astrolabe Illustration of classical experiment with a gold ring and cup to explain refraction in two media - air & water (right), method of measuring refraction using two quadrants (middle), and the use of an optical telescope for projecting the sun (left) A pendulum device (right) and a celestial globe (left) A pendulum device (lower right), and a series of experiments about the law of natural descent Illustration of a projectiles trajectory, as timed with a pendulum and measured by a gunners level