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Special Exhibition Label: 'Al-Mizan: Sciences and Arts in the Islamic World' (26/10/2010 - 20/03/2011)

Metalwork Techniques

Structure and Surface

The basic fabrication of a metal astrolabe uses several techniques. The rete and plates are of beaten sheet-brass while the main body (the mater or umm) is either cast in one piece or constructed from a wrought or cast rim riveted to a back-sheet. The upper surfaces of this mid-17th century Persian example by Muhammad Mahdi al-Yazdi are covered in finely engraved foliate scrolls and ornamental inscriptions. The plate visible through the rete has been decorated with silver inlay.

MHS inv. 46886 (above)

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