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Inventory no. 51148 - Epact entry

Epact number: 57815

Diptych Dial

Signed by Paul Reinmann
Dated 1601; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 90 x 111 x 14 mm

Main text

This diptych dial has both a vertical and a horizontal string gnomon dial, the latter carrying nine concentric circles to mark Italian hours throughout the year but with no marks to indicate the corresponding month.

The motif of blowing putti, symbolising the winds, is common in dials and especially in Paul Reinmann's. Also typical of Reinmann is the geometric motif of half moon and stars, engraved on the borders.

A more unusual feature of this dial is the cast brass feet in the form of six-pointed stars in the lower leaf spandrels.





Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 51,148



Detailed text

The outer part of the upper leaf has a wind rose with 32 directions and brass index arm, motifs of sun faces and stars in the spandrels, and the inscriptions '|star| MIT |star| |star| TAG' '|star| AVF |star| |star| GANG |star|' '|star| MITTER |star| |star| NACHT |star|' '|star| NIDER |star| |star| GANG |star|'. There is also a compass viewing hole.

The inner part of the upper leaf has two pin gnomon dials: the one on the left hand side marks the length of the day and the declination of the sun with the symbols of the zodiacal signs. The dial on the right hand side marks unequal hours, numbered in red from 1 to 11 and has a motif of sun, moon and stars. Below, a string gnomon dial indicates common hours numbered in red from VII to XII to V with dots and lines for the half and quarter hours. At the centre it has a 12-leaf flower enclosed in two eccentric circles.

The inner part of the lower leaf has a compass with the maker's mark (a crown) and magnetic deviation indicated, enclosed in a string gnomon dial with nine concentric circles for Italian hours numbered 0 to 16 throughout the year but with no marks to indicate the corresponding month, and at the bottom centre is the date '1601'. Common hours are numbered from 4 to 12 to 8 with dots and lines for the half and quarter hour. In the spandrel spaces are blowing cherubs and at the bottom is the signature 'PAVLVS REINMAN NORIMBERGAE FACIEBAT'. Below, the characteristic motif of stars and half moons.

The outer part of the lower leaf has a lunar volvelle with disc engraved with a sun effigy and time correction scales in hours and minutes. In each spandrel is a six-pointed star foot cast in brass, and at the bottom is the maker's mark (a crown) twice.

See P. Gouk, The Ivory Sundials of Nuremberg 1500-1700 (Cambridge, 1988), p. 124.

Ilaria Meliconi

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