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Diptych Dial
Signed by Hans Tucher
16th century; German
Ivory; 130 x 110 mm

Dial in the form of a book with five raised triple ribs on the 'spine', and panelled 'boars' by a pair of double rules. In each corner of the panel is a brass stud which serves both for decoration and as a foot for the dial.

Face Ia: Thirty two-point wind rose with alternating arrows and single lines radiating out to wind-blowing heads and cloud-formations. In a surrounding circle are the names of the four cardinal points in Latin and German. In the centre is a hole for placing the wind-vane (missing), and an index is mounted around the wind-vane hole by a collar above an inscription 'MEER CAMPASS VND WEGWEISSER'. In the border reading from the North side are the indications 'witter-nacht' / 'aussgand' / 'mit-tag' / 'nidergang'. Also at the North point is an inspection hole for examining the compass in the second leaf.

Face Ib: In the top centre within a dotted frame is a vertical diagram for the length of the day crossed at the centre by a series of five attachment holes for the string-gnomon (missing) for latitudes 42 to 54? rising by increments of 3?. Below the hour diagram is the explanation 'die funff fochlein sein die posvs heh der erben and den faden thu in das fochlein des lands posvs grab'. To the left of the inset is the inscription 'IMPONE FILVM FORAMINI QVOD LOCI TVI POLVMHNICAT [sic, recte POLVM INDCAT] ET HORA HABETITVR IN CIRCVLO QVI EODEM NVMERO POLARIS INSCRIBITVR'. To the right 'DIE SPICZ ZEIGHT DES TAGS AB VUND ZV NEMEN VND DIE ZWOLF ZEICHEN VND DER FADEN DIE POLVS GRAD DER LAND VND STET'. Below this are five columns containing countries and places corresponding to the five latitudes marked. Each column is headed by the phrase 'DER LAND VND STETT POLVS GRAD' followed by the appropriate value. The places (in translation) are for 54? Moscow, Lifland, Scotland, Zeeland, Ireland, Schweten, Denmark, Danzig. For 51? England, Netherlands, Breysen, Kinsberg, Polen, Pehem Hes, Sens sachs, Sen Meichs. For 48? Germany, Scaben, Franconia, Baierland, Austria, Hungary, Mererland. For 45? Venice, Mayland, Wales, Genff, France, Cremona, Constantinople. For 42? Italy, Spain, Turkey, Lisbon, Portugal, Africa, Sicily, Corsica.

Face IIa: Horizontal string-gnomon dial with five hour scales (4 to 12 to 8 without sub-division) each marked to correspond with the designated values, surrounding a gilt 32-point wind rose with the cardinal points named in Latin and German and employing similar alternating decoration as the wind-rose on face Ia. Magnetic declination mark for approximately 12? East. In the bottom corners are pin gnomon scaphe dials for Italian hours for latitudes 42? and 45? although only the latter value is marked. The east, west and south sides are named in Latin and German, and a strut for fixing the upper leaf in position at a right angle is set in the bottom edge and a suspension ring in the top edge. The dial is signed in the bottom centre of the hour scale with Tucher's mark and the Nuremberg 'N' quality mark.

Face IIb: Central circular lunar scale within a triple rule border and arched corner decoration in black and red. The scale is labelled 'NACHT CAMPAST' and is composed of a lunar age scale, an hour scale (1 to 12 ? 2) and a central volvelle also with double 12 hour scale and aperture for the lunar phase. The diagram thus enables the age and phase of the moon to be determined and hour conversions to be made. The four quarters of the moon are named in the outer ring.

Anthony J. Turner

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 2471

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