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: Attributed to Iran, Mashhad

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


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).