History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search


Inventory no. 39884 - Former Display Label

North Indian QUADRANT
18th century

Brass. Signed, in Sanskrit, 'This quadrant (turyam) was made by ?Buhlo-Varma, having worshipped the feet of the husband of the mountain goddess [i.e. Siva], so that the wise may know the time'; undated.

The North Indian day (beginning at dawn) is divided into sixty ghati (each ghati is, therefore, equivalent to twenty-four minutes). Each ghati is divided into sixty pal and each pal into sixty bipal.

The quadrant is engraved on one side only; the inscriptions are in Sanskrit. At the lower edge of the instrument is a scale of 90°, every 6° being numbered. Above are seven scales of ghati, adapted to the varying declination of the sun throughout the year. The lowest of these scales bears the name of the third month, asa-ha (June-July); the others the names of the Signs of the Zodiac, each scale serving for two of the Signs. The shortest scale is divided into eleven ghati, and the longest into seventeen ghati. Two pierced lugs on one of the radii of the quadrant serve as sights. To ascertain the time, the quadrant is held vertically and directed towards the sun and the plumb-line and bob are allowed to hang freely. If the observation be made before noon, the plumb-line will show the ghati on the scale appropriate to the day of observation; if after noon, the number of ghati shown by the plumb-line is subtracted from the number of ghati at noon and the remainder added to that number. Other instruments using the same system of time-telling are the North Indian or Nepali staff-dials (known also as clock-spears), of which there are two in this Museum (nos. O.3 and O.4).

Billmeir Collection

Other narratives:

Related Objects: