Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • The Elephant Clock: Leaf from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by al–Jazari, Detached folio from an illustrated manuscript, 715 A.H. / 1315 a.d.; Mamluk
    Abu’l Izz Ismacil al–Jazari, Author; Farkh ibn cAbd al–Latif, Copyist
    Probably Syria
    Ink, colors, and gold on paper; H. 11 13/16 in. (30 cm), W. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)
    Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956 (57.51.23)

    This page is from a dispersed copy of a manuscript, dated 1315, of al-Jazari's Kitab fi macrifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya (The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, also known as The Automata). The various elements that compose this clock move and make a sound every half hour. This device is reminiscent of the elaborate clocks found on medieval town halls in Europe, which made the passage of time more entertaining with the performance of the moving figures.

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  • The Elephant Clock: Leaf from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by al-Jazari, Detached folio from an illustrated manuscript, 715 A.H. / 1315 A.D.; Mamluk
    Abu’l Izz Ismacil al-Jazari, Author; Farkh ibn cAbd al-Latif, Copyist
    Probably Syria
    Ink, colors, and gold on paper; H. 11 13/16 in. (30 cm), W. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)
    Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956 (57.51.23)

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