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Chalice Dial
Signed by Bartholomaeus Madauer
Dated 1554; Aldersbach
Gilt brass; 105 mm in diameter

The outside of the chalice is plain, only the joint between the cup and the foot is decorated with a raised acanthus-leaf.

The inner surface is engraved with eight curved lines for equal hours, the hour scale numbered I to VIII from the bottom to the top and IIII to XII in reverse order.

A date scale, represented by the symbols for the zodiacal signs (in pairs Cancer / Gemini, Leo / Taurus, Virgo / Aries, Libra / Pisces, Scorpi / Aquarius, Sagittarius / Capricorn clockwise from the hour scale) compensates for the fact that the solar altitude changes during the year. Every pair of signs is divided to 10?. The edge of the cup has a single degree scale.

A vertical scale of solar altitudes runs from 0? to 65?, numbered by 5? and divided to 1?. The vertical spike acting as a gnomon situated at the centre of the cup is a replacement.

The name of the maker and the date 'BARTHOLOMEUS ABBAS ALDERPACENSIS FACIEBAT ANNO MDLIIII' are engraved in a cartouche on the inner surface.

Around the bottom of the inside of the cup is the inscription 'HOROLOGIVM IN CRATERE AD ELENA{TIO} [recte: elevatio] PO{lis} 48' indicate the latitude for which the dial serves.

Bartholomaeus Madauer (abbot of Aldersbach 1552-77, died 1579) also signed a similar silver-gilt sundial (undated) which is now lost, but was kept in the Kunstkammer in Munich in 1599.

The instrument was purchased in 1896 and is described and illustrated 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. 71, no. 203 (with plate XXVII); A. A. Mills, "Chalice Dials", Bulletin of the British Sundial Society (1995, part 3), p. 22 (with figures 7 and 8). See also the exhibition catalogue Das Zisterzienser-Kloster Aldersbach, Dokumentation seiner Geschichte im Rahmen der Jubil?umsausstellung "Cosmas Damian Asam. Zum 300. Geburtstag", (Kloster Aldersbach 15 August - 19 Oktober 1986), p. 7 ff. with illustrations; E. von Bassermann-Jordan, Alte Uhren und ihre Meister (Leipzig 1926), p. 72-5; and E. Zinner, Deutsche und Niederl?ndische astronomische Instrumente des 11. bis 18. Jahrhunderts (Munich, 1957), p. 435 ff.

Silke Ackermann

British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1896,12-14.1

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