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Diptych Dial
Attributed to a Thomas Tucher
circa 1620; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 110 x 87 x 20 mm

This dial is made of one central leaf and two others that can be opened showing the different dials. The outer part of one opening leaf is covered with a brass plate. It has a pierced lunar volvelle with aspectarium and four bun feet (two missing). The inner side of this leaf has another volvelle inscribed 'DAS IST DIE KROS VHR', with hours numbered from 8 to 24, and on the ivory leaf is inscribed 'TAG LENG' indicated from 8 to 16, and around it 'VER GLEIGVNG GROS VNT KLAN VHR' with hours numbered from 4 to 12 to 8 with lines and dots for the half and quarter hour. This is a table for converting Italian and Babylonian hours. The space below the circular table and the top spandrel spaces are decorated with birds and flowers and foliage.

On this side of the central leaf is a universal equinoctial dial, with hours numbered on one side 1 to 12 twice, and on the other from 6 to 12 to 6, and a latitude scale from [0?] to 90? by 10.

The outer side of the other folding leaf has a wind rose with 32 directions named, brass arm (wind vane missing), four bun feet in the spandrels and compass viewing hole. There is foliage decoration in the remaining space.

The inner side of this leaf has a polar dial (pin missing) indicating common hours in black from 8 to 12 to 4, the length of the day from 8 to 16 (numbered only from 12 to 16), indicated 'QVANTIDAS DIEI' and the declination of the sun with zodiac symbols. Below it there is, in the centre of the leaf, a set of holes for adjusting the latitude to 54, 48 and 42 degrees, The latitudes 54 and 42 are marked with a circle and on the sides is foliage decoration. Below it is a list of 15 cities and latitudes.

This inner side of the central leaf has a compass (glass cracked) with the magnetic deviation and the cardinal points indicated (north with a fleur-de-lis). The maker's mark (a snake) is also punched twice in the compass. Around the compass is a string gnomon dial for the aforementioned latitudes, indicating common hours numbered from 4 to 12 to 8, from IIII to XII to VIII and again from 4 to 12 to 8. There are dots for the half hours. Below the compass is a polar dial for latitude 45 ('P G 45') indicating Italian hours, numbered from 10 to 23 in red, Babylonian hours numbered from 1 to 15 in black and indicated 'GROS VNT KLAN VHR' and the length of the day and the night, numbered from 8 to 16 each and indicated 'TIE NACHT LENG' and 'DIE TAG LENG'. The spandrel spaces and the remaining space are filled with foliate decoration.

Ilaria Meliconi

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 73044

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