Islamic astrolabe, 1701-1800

Made:
1701-1800 in North Africa

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Islamic planispheric astrolabe in brass, diameter 25cm, Maghribi, 18th century, with rete, eight plates, alidade, cursor, pin and horse, plus two additional plates of later date.

Made in the eighteenth century, this brass Islamic astrolabe was made in the region of North Africa known as the Maghrib. This front view shows the moveable fretwork plate called the rete that denotes star positions by wavy pointers. The astrolabe is in essence a model of the universe that an astronomer could hold in their hands. Popular in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, its many uses included timekeeping, astrology and surveying. The astrolabe is a two-dimensional depiction of the heavens whose layout is achieved using the mathematical technique of stereographic projection. From its origins in the Ancient World, Islamic astronomers developed the astrolabe from where it spread to Europe.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
1986-1190
type:
astrolabe
taxonomy:
  • disciplines
  • disciplines
  • science
  • natural sciences
  • physical sciences
  • furnishing and equipment
  • measuring device - instrument
credit:
Herve Chayette and Laurence Calmels
status:
Permanent collection

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