Signed by Georg Hartmann
Dated 1541; Nuremberg
Ivory; 39 x 96 x 17 mm
The dial is carved with a Crucifixion on one side and a scene from the Old testament where the people of Israel, dying from snakebites, were healed by looking at the Cross made by Moses on God's instructions (Numbers 21, 6-9). On the arms of the cross are carved the hour lines, numbered 9 to 11, 7 to 9, 12, 3 to 5, 1 to 3 on the five upper faces of the cross. On the two curved sides of the base are hour lines from 2 to 1 to 5 and from 7 to 12. The symbols of the zodiacal signs are engraved on the base of the cross.
A pivoted section of the base can be turned to serve as an adjustable leg to support the cross at an appropriate angle, which is set by means of a pointer on the side. The pointer moves on a scale, not numbered but probably indicating latitudes. This portion is carved with the Deposition on one side and the coat-of-arms of Brandenburg. On the top of this part is a small compass.
At the bottom of the cross is the signature 'GEORGIVS HARTMAN NO::RENBERGE: F: ANNO 1541'.
The instrument was purchased in 1894 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. 33, no. 71.
British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1894, 7-22.1
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