Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Astrolabe of ‘Umar ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Rasul al-Muzaffari

‘Umar ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Rasul al-Muzaffari
Object Name:
dated A.H. 690/ A.D. 1291
Brass; cast and hammered, pierced, chased, inlaid with silver
Case (a): Max. W. 7 5/8 in. (19.4 cm) Diam. 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm) D. 1/4 in. (0.6 cm) Bar with attached nail (b): Max. H. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm) Max. W. 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm) L. 5 in. (12.7 cm) Net (c): Diam. 5 in. (12.7 cm) Plates (d-g): Diam. 5 in. (12.7 cm) Pin (h): L. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm) W. 1/2 in. (1.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 454
For an object produced during the medieval period, this astrolabe is unusually well documented. Its inscription attributes it to a Rasulid prince, 'Umar ibn Yusuf, a few years before he ascended to the throne (r. 1295–96). 'Umar compiled a number of scientific treatises, including one on the construction of astrolabes, an autographed version of which, preserved in Cairo, contains certifications by his teachers as to his competence as a maker of such devices and a description of this very piece.
Signature: Made and signed by the Rasulid prince al-Ashraf `Umar ibn Yusuf, later Sultan of Yemen (r.1295-96).

Inscription: Inscription in Arabic in naskhi script on back of case:

هذا الاصطرلاب عمل عمر بن یوسف بن عمر بن علي بن رسول المظفري مُباشرةً وإملاً سنة ح ٦٩

This astrolabe is the work of ‘Umar ibn Yusuf ibn
‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Rasul al-Muzaffari directly [by himself]
and by his instruction in the year A.H. 690 [1291 A.D.]
Edward C. Moore, New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA)
"Specimens of Mohammedan Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum Studies vol. 1, no. 1 (November 1928). p. 107, ill. fig. 8 (b/w).

"Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York." In The Arts of Islam. Berlin, 1981. no. 56, pp. 146-147, ill. p. 147 (color).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 81, pp. 206-207, ill. p. 207 (b/w).

L'Age d'Or des Sciences Arabes. Paris: Institut du Monde Arabe, 2005. no. 26, pp. 98-99, ill. fig. 26 (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 107, pp. 158-159, ill. p. 158 (color).

King, David A. Islamic Astronomy and Geography. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2012. p. 156, ill. fig. 9.6.

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