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Inventory no. 45747 - Former Display Label

Persian ASTROLABE, made for Shâh {ain}Abbâs II
1057 A.H. = 1647/8 A.D.

Signed, on the back, in the shadow-square, 'With the knowledge of [or, In the presence of] the least of the servants of the exalted, noble and imperial court, Muhammad Shafî{ain}, the astronomer of Janâbad, and the craftsmanship of Muhammad Muqîm al-Yazdî, in the year 1057 of the Hijra'; and, at the bottom of the back, 'Written by Fa-l Allah as-Sabzawârî' (The meaning of these signatures is that Muhammad Shafî{ain} designed, or supervised the construction of the astrolabe, that Muhammad Muqîm of Yazd made it, and that Fa-l Allah of Sabzawâr was responsible for the calligraphy.) Brass.
On the front of the kursî is an inscription which reads, 'The supreme prince, the sultân, the most just, the most great, lord of the centres of command, remover of the causes of tyranny and rebellion, king of the kings of the age, Abû-l-Muzaffar Sultân Shâh {ain}Abbâs the Second, the Safawî, the Musawî, the Husainî, Bahâdur Khân. The inscription continues on the back of the kursî, 'May God Almighty perpetuate his Kingdom and his Empire and cause his justice and his benefits to spread over the worlds while the spheres revolve and the planets continue courses'.

The phrase, 'Su{I dot below}tân Shâh {ain}Abbâs the Second' is worked into the tracery inside the ecliptic circle at the top of the {ain}ankabût.

43 stars are named on the {ain}ankabût. 5 plates, all tâmm or 'perfect' [i.e. engraved with almucantars for each degree of altitude]: 22°, 42°; 28°, 30°; 34°, 36°; a tablet of horizons, and a projection for latitude 35° in which the almucantars are drawn in an ogival pattern (this side of the plate is shown). The projections for 28° & 30° include azimuths as well as almucantars, and the projection for 22° has a separate projection of azimuths engraved below the horizon-line.

The umm is engraved with a circular table giving the latitude, longitude and inhirâf of various towns.

On the back are engraved the usual shadow-square, cotangent scale, sine graph, and zodiacal quadrant with the arcs of the Qibla. The alidade is graduated with declination scales.

The {ain}ilâqa (usually a plaited cord attached to the suspension ring and used for holding the instrument) is of leather. This astrolabe weighs 18 1/4 lbs.

This astrolabe belonged to Shêr {ain}Alî, Amîr of Afghanistan, who was deposed by the British in 1879. Taken out of the Bâlâ Hisar, this instrument was purchased at a prize sale in Sherpore, in March 1879, by Colonel Cramer-Roberts.

[IC 18; Mayer p. 74]
Lewis Evans Collection

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