Astrolabe Catalogue


Date 1227/8 (A.H. 625)
Maker ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Miṣrī
Place Cairo (?)
Material Brass
Acquisition Presented by Lewis Evans in 1924
Accession 1924-0/2000


Evans bought it from the Comtesse de l'Espinasse in 1911 (paying £250, the highest amount that he ever paid for an astrolabe). It was exhibited by her at the Paris Exposition of 1900. An owner in 1420/21 (A.H. 824) has had the rete modified or repaired, probably in Persia. It was originally made for the sultan of Mesopotamia Al-Malik al-Ashraf Mūsā (Abū-l-Fātih Mūsā ibn Abū-l-Bakr ibn Ayyūb), a nephew of Saladin, who ruled from 1210 to ca.1237 and to whom there is a lengthy inscription around the rim. The maker was an Egyptian (al-Miṣrī), but being called so may probably have been working in another Arabian city, such as Damascus, the centre of the craft of 'damascening' or metal inlaying, of which this astrolabe is such a fine example.
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