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Inventory no. 86072 - Epact entry

Epact number: 43377

Diptych Dial

Signed by Thomas Tucher
circa 1620; Nuremberg
Ivory and gilt brass; 76 x 125 x 15 mm

Main text

This very nicely decorated dial has on the outer parts of both leaves four engraved gilt brass plates, which must have rendered the instrument both more distinctive and also more valuable.

The rest of the decoration is made up of fruits, flowers and foliage coloured in green and brown.



Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 86,072



Detailed text

The outer side of the upper leaf has a wind rose in the centre with 32 directions, 8 of which are named, as are the four cardinal points. The decoration consists of putti blowing and small stars. There is a brass arm and compass viewing hole. In the spandrel spaces are four decorated brass plates with bun feet. The remaining space is filled with decoration of fruits and foliage coloured in green and brown.

The inner side of the upper leaf has a pin gnomon dial indicating the length of the day ('QVANTIDASS DIEI') from 8 to 16, and the declination of the sun with symbols of the zodiacal signs. Below it is a set of holes for adjusting the latitude to 54°, 48° and 42°, enclosed in a sort of globe. On the bottom of the leaf is a recumbent female figure, holding a dial in her left hand. The decoration consists of fruits and foliage.

The inner side of the lower leaf has a compass (glass and ring missing) with the names of the cardinal points abbreviated, with a fleur-de-lis for north, and the maker's mark (a snake) marked twice. Around it is a string gnomon dial (string missing) for the latitudes mentioned above, with hours indicated from 4 to 12 to 8, from IIII to XII to 8 (in red) and again from 4 to 12 to 8. The latitude is also indicated in the rings. Below it is a scaphe dial inscribed '|star| P 50 G |star|' indicating Italian hours from 9 to 24. On the lower part of the dial is the inscription 'POLNISCHE VHR' and the maker's mark between his initials, 'T D'. The rest of the leaf is filled with decoration of fruits and flowers, coloured in green and brown.

The outer side of the lower leaf has similar brass plates as the other leaf, a lunar volvelle with a table of epacts, starting with 17 / 7. The rest of the leaf is decorated with fruits and flowers, and there is a hinge to keep the dial closed when not in use (part of it is missing). The sides of the lower leaf are decorated with engraved lines.

Ilaria Meliconi

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