This astrolabe is one of the latest dated instruments by 'Abd al-A'imma, a prolific astrolabe maker from whom more than 30 astrolabes have been recorded. It is also one of his largest.

The throne, cast with the mater and rim in one piece, is almost identical in shape to AST0535. The shackle and rim are plain and the silvery chord might be original. Part of the Koranic verse II, 255 is engraved on the front: 'His Throne extends over heavens and earth'. A gazetteer with 58 localities fills the mater, arranged in concentric rings, including places such as Mecca, Kabul, Kashmir and Damascus. Just above the central hole is the date of construction of the instrument: 'fi sanat 1128' (in the year AH 1128 [which approximates to 1715-16 AD]). The rete is of the typical 'Abd al-A'imma design, easily recognizable by its curvilinear tracery of thin stems which are placed symmetrically about the meridian. There are five plates for latitudes between 30º-40º. The engraving on the back of the instrument closely follows the late-Safavid style similar to that on the backs of AST0535 and AST0594. Beneath the double shadow square is a cartouche with the signature: 'Made by 'Abd al-A'imma, needy of the blessings of his Lord, the All-Sufficient'.

Object Details

ID: AST0545
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Astrolabe
Display location: Not on display
Creator: al-A'imma, 'Abd
Date made: 1715-16; 1715-1716
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall: 23 x 240 x 160 mm; Diameter: 161 mm

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