London, South Kensington
7 June 2001
A late Iranian astrolabe in the tradition of Hajji 'Ali,
unsigned, undated, [?]circa 1850, brass -- 4½in. (11.4cm.) diameter
This astrolabe is in the tradition of the celebrated Hajji 'Ali (Iran, ca. 1800). The throne, however, with a hole at each side, is in the tradition of the 15th-Century al-Kirmani family. The rete with 26 star-pointers is rather crudely fashioned and does not fit perfectly within the mater. The mater is engraved with a gazetteer in typical late Iranian fashion, displaying qibla values for some seventy-two localities. One plate is in the Hajji 'Ali tradition: it serves latitudes 33°/37°. Another serving 38°/40° is more typically Ottoman in appearance. Five other plates, of more reddish colour, serve latitudes 20°/21°, 22°/23°, 24°/25°, 30°/36°, and various horizons. The back bears a trigonometric quadrant with families of radial lines and quarter circles, a universal horary quadrant, and shadow squares for gnomon lengths 7 on the left and 12 on the right. The alidade appears to be original.
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GUNTHER, R.T., Astrolabes of the World, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1932, repr. 1 vol., London, 1976) pp155-156, no. 42, and pls. xxxix-xli
Christie's London Sale Catalogue, 28.05.1998, pp26-30, Lot 52
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