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Planispheric Astrolabe

Maker:
Muhammad Zaman al-Munajjim al-Asturlabi (active 1643–89)
Object Name:
Astrolabe
Date:
dated A.H. 1065/ A.D. 1654–55
Geography:
Iran, Mashhad
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Brass and steel; cast and hammered, pierced and engraved
Dimensions:
H. 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm) W. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm) D. 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm)
Classification:
Metal
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1963
Accession Number:
63.166a–j
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
Astrolabes of this size were not precise enough for astronomical observations, but served well for telling time, and astrologers could use them to determine the position of a planet relative to the different astrological houses. The intricate calligraphic faceplate of this example is typical of Safavid‑period astrolabes; it reads: "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" (bismallah al‑Rahman al‑Rahim).
Signature: Muhammad Zaman al-Munajjim al-Asturlabi AH 1065 (AD 1654–55).

Inscription: Arabic inscriptions in nasta‘liq script, on rete on inner circle:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

On back:
صنعه محمد زمان المنجم الاصطرلابى 10۶۵
Made by Muhammad Zaman the astrologer the astrolabe-maker A.H. 1065
[A.D. 1654–55]
I. G. Sargis, New York(until 1963; sold to MMA)
Bowie, Theodore Robert. "An Exhibition Prepared by Theodore Bowie." In Islamic Art Across the World. Vol. no. 1970/3. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Art Museum, 1970. no. 283.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Masterpieces of the Metropolitan Museum of Art." In Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art. Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 2012. no. 105, pp. 169, 251-2, ill. (color, b/w).

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. 165, p. 240, ill. p. 240 (color).

Saliba, George. Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2011. pp. 224-225.

Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 96-97, ill. pl. 16 (color).



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