Zodiac Signs

Al-Mizan is a constellation of stars and one of the signs of the zodiac. The twelve zodiac signs demonstrate that the science of the stars is closely linked to artistic iconography in Islamic culture.

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The zodiac signs appear in many treatises on astronomy and are an essential element of astrolabes and celestial globes. The twelve signs were of great importance for the development of the Islamic visual tradition: the oldest illustrated Arabic text is a manuscript on the constellations preserved in Oxford's Bodleian Library.

The zodiac was also vital in astrology, each sign having its own character and influence, and presented within far more precise and elaborate systems of interpretation and prediction than survive in today's newspaper horoscopes. The zodiac signs' astrological significance helped them to achieve a very wide circulation as visual icons. Such was their symbolic and human significance that they frequently appear as a central decorative element on many forms of metalwork and ceramics.