Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Portable diptych sundial

Hans Tröschel the Elder (German, 1549–1612)
ca. 1598
German, Nuremberg
Ivory, brass
Overall: 3 1/2 × 2 3/8 in. (8.9 × 6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Stephen D. Tucker, 1903
Accession Number:
Not on view
The growing production of mechanical clocks during the Renaissance had the effect of stimulating the construction of a variety of timekeeping instruments. Sundials were used for setting clocks, as well as for regulating their still inaccurate movements. Both the variety and number of sundials proliferated, but Nuremberg sundial makers specialized in small, folding, easily portable types made of ivory or wood. This dial, which can be used to tell the time in several different systems of counting the hours, was made to be used in Nuremberg's latitude of 49 1/2 degrees. Other portable sundials made in Nuremberg can be adjusted for use in several latitudes.
Signature: Stamped and filled with red pigment on the lower part of upper tablet, opened position: HANS TRÖS / CHEL NVRNBERG.

Inscription: Lower tablet, open position, in red: HORÆ AB OCCAV.; lower tablet, open position, in brown: HORÆ AB ORTV

Upper tablet, open position, in red: (left) ASCENS, (right) DESCENS

Upper tablet, closed position, stamped: OSTENSOR / VIÆ SVM

Bottom tablet, closed position, engraved: EPACTS JULIAN, EPACTA GREGORI, ÆTAS LUNÆ ET HORÆ NOCTIS

Marking: Stamped twice on the lower tablet, closed position, at top and bottom of epact: a bird on a twig
Mrs. Stephen D. Tucker (until 1903; to MMA)
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