Astronomical and navigational instruments, Astrolabes and quadrants

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Astronomical and navigational instruments

Object connections:

Collection Astronomical and navigational instruments, Astrolabes and quadrants
User collections Re·Think Migration by marre986
Gallery locationROG (Floor plans)
Publication(s)Treasures of the National Maritime Museum
Gloria Clifton and Nigel Rigby
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Object details:

Object ID AST0535
Description If the dating on this astrolabe is correct (see below), then it belongs to the later period of Muhammad Khalil's activities. The decoration, by Muhammad Baqir Isfahani, has been very skilfully executed, but is not quite of the same standard as that of Muhammad Mahdi, whose astrolabes, in all likelihood, were the models for Muhammad Khalil's production. The throne is extensively ornamented with floral motifs on both sides. The suspension ring is chiselled with a neat series of geometric patterns, which is repeated in a slightly different way on the shackle. Engraved along the rim of the mater is an invocation to the Prophet, his mother Fatima and the 12 Imams of Twelver Shi'ism. The mater contains a gazetteer giving the longitude, latitude and qibla of 58 localities. The rete is similar to those by Muhammad Mahdi, with a characteristically complex, asymmetrical pattern of vegetal stems and leaves. There are six standard plates for a range of latitudes from 22º-39º. The marks on the back of this instrument are very similar to AST0594. Inside the shadow square is a large cartouche with the maker's signature: 'Made by the humble and wretched in front of God the Magnificent, Muhammad Khalil ibn Hasan 'Ali. Beneath this is the signature of the decorator: Muhammad Baqir Isfahani. The number 19 precedes this signature which is presumed to be the date: AH[11]19, which is 1707-08 AD.
Date made 1707-08

Artist/Maker Isfahani, Muhammad Baqir
Khalil, Muhammad
Place made Persia
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Materials gilt-brass
Measurements Overall: 246 x 9 x 185 mm
  • Astrolabe (AST0535)
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