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Crucifix Dial
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.

Ilaria Meliconi

British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1894, 7-22.1

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