Astrolabe Catalogue

astrolabe, inventory number 54607 from Persia, 17th century
thumbnail for astrolabe (front), inventory number 54607 from Persia, 17th century
thumbnail for astrolabe (back), inventory number 54607 from Persia, 17th century
thumbnail for astrolabe (rete front), inventory number 54607 from Persia, 17th century
Date17th century
Inventory no.54607
AcquisitionPresented by Lewis Evans in 1924

R. T. Gunther in The Astrolabes of the World (1932) dubbed this 'The Hunter's Astrolabe', because of the hunting scene depicted on the front of the throne. It is quite likely that so specific a decorative theme would reflect the interests of the person the astrolabe was originally made for. Hunting was of course a pastime typically pursued by the most high-ranking and wealthy (in Muslim and Christian society alike).

The large thrones typical of Persian astrolabes were usually either filled with calligraphy - often surah 2:255 of the Qur'an, speaking of God's command of the heavens as well as the earth - or they were filled with intricate foliate decoration either engraved, embossed, or in filigree. Occasionally an inscribed cartouche, or a particular image, would emerge from the midst of the foliage. This hunting scene develops the pictorial possibilities of such workmanship to its fullest degree, and resembles illustrations in the illuminated manuscripts for which Islamic art is famous.

View all images for this astrolabe
View detailed provenance for this astrolabe

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, round cross-section ring made of brass and omega type shackle made of brass . More information


The mater and limb are of one-piece construction. That tab that holds the plates from rotating is located at the bottom of the instrument. Scales on the limb: degree scale. More information


The back contains 0 scales. More information

Rete, Pin & Horse

The rete contains 0 stars. The zodiac on the rete is labelled: حمل , ثور , جوزا , سرطان , اسد , سنبل , ميزان , عقرب , قوس , جدي , دلو , حوت .
The rete is attached using a pin & horse. This is a simple horse. More information


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

Rules & Alidades

Type Details
More information


MHS Home | Contact Us | ©2006 Museum of the History of Science