Islamic planispheric astrolabe in brass, diameter 25 cm, with rete, two plates, alidade, alidade, pin and horse, made by Jamal al-Din ibn Muquin, at Lahore, Pakistan, in 1077 AH (= 1666-7 CE). Inside of mater shows map locating Mecca with qibla of 17 locations. Zoomorphic characters on rete.
Made around 1666, this brass Islamic astrolabe was made by Jamal al-Din at Lahore, Pakistan. This front view shows the very ornate moveable fretwork plate called the rete that denotes star positions by short curved 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.