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Polyhedral Dial
Signed by Paul Reinmann
Dated 1597; Nuremberg
Ivory and wood; 70 x 72 x 64 mm

This dial is made by ivory layers on an octagonal block of wood. The top of the dial has a compass (glass, needle and ring missing) decorated with four putti. On the sides of the compass are sun and moon effigies, and below is a pin gnomon dial indicating Italian hours from 12 to 22 and Babylonian hours from 1 to 12. Below the pin is the signature and date 'PAVLVS REINMAN NORIMBERGAE 1441' (the style of the date is characteristic of a later period).

With one exception, all the octagonal faces have wire gnomon dials. The first of the octagonal faces is missing its wire. It marks common hours from 6 to 12 to 6, and is inscribed 'MITTAG', with the date 1597.

The dial on the second face indicates common hours from 4 to 12 to 2. The third face indicates 'AVFGANG', with common hours engraved from 4 to 10. The fourth face indicates common hours from 4 to 9, and the fifth face has a pin gnomon dial indicating common hours from 4 to 8 twice, and is inscribed 'MITTERNACHT'. The maker's mark (a crown) is punched twice on this face. The sixth face indicates common hours from 3 to 8, and the seventh is engraved 'NI{E}DERGANG' with hours marked from 2 to 8. The eighth and last face indicates common hours from 10 to 12 and from 1 to 8.

The dial rests on four bun feet, one of which is missing.

The instrument was bequeathed by Octavius Morgan, and is described in F. A. B. Ward, A Catalogue of European Scientific Instruments in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities of the British Museum (London, 1981), p. 32, no.66.

Ilaria Meliconi

British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1888, 12-1.284

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