Astrolabe Catalogue

astrolabe, inventory number 54193 from Iṣfahān, 1703/4 (A.H. 1115)
thumbnail for astrolabe (front), inventory number 54193 from Iṣfahān, 1703/4 (A.H. 1115)
thumbnail for astrolabe (back), inventory number 54193 from Iṣfahān, 1703/4 (A.H. 1115)
thumbnail for astrolabe (rete front), inventory number 54193 from Iṣfahān, 1703/4 (A.H. 1115)
Date1703/4 (A.H. 1115)
Maker‘Abd al-A’imma
Inventory no.54193
AcquisitionPresented by Lewis Evans in 1924

The front of the throne of this astrolabe by the Persian astrolabist 'Abd al-A'imma is decorated, as are many of the large thrones of Persian astrolabes, with an embossed calligraphic inscription. This would usually be a verse from the Qur'an, or sometimes the maker's signature or dedication. In this case it is the short phrase يا صادق الوعد (O Thou, true to promise). It is a sacred invocation, but was perhaps chosen for its aptness to some secular situation too. No source has been found for the expression, but it appears also in a contemporary poetical and biographical anthology by Muhammad Amin ibn Fadlallah al-Muhibbi (1651-1699), entitled Nafhat al-rayhana wa-rashhat tila’ al-hanah.

Many of 'Abd al-A'imma's finely decorated astrolabes were made for wealthy and high-ranking patrons. This one was made for Rustam Khān Dunbalī, a courtier of the shah of Persia, as a further embossed inscription in a more unusual place - all around the edge of the instrument - records (see additional images).

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Throne, Ring and Shackle

The throne is of the indo-persian, engraved type made of brass attached with integrated base made of brass and has a simple, squared cross-section ring made of brass and omega type shackle made of brass . More information


The mater and limb are of one-piece construction. The tab used to hold tympans in place is located 180° from the throne.. Scales on the limb: degree scale. More information


The back contains 15 scales of the following types: Altitude; Declination; Azimuth of Qibla; Altitude of noon sun; Sine/Cosine; Cotangent; Terms; Zodiacal signs; Faces; Shadow square; Triplicities. The back is inscribed: with a maker's signature marked as صنعه عبد الائمه (‘Abd al-A’imma made this). More information

Rete, Pin & Horse

The rete contains 0 stars. The zodiac on the rete is labelled: حمل , ثور , جوزا , سرطان , اسد , سنبله , ميزان , عقرب , قوس , جدي , دلو , حوت .
The rete is attached using a pin & horse. It is not certain that this pin and horse are original. Unusually, there is a washer between the horse and the rete.. More information


There are 5 plates with latitudes ranging from 29°0' to 40°0' . More information

Rules & Alidades

Type Details
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