8-inch celestial astrologer’s globe, in brass, inscribed in a mixture of Persian, Arabic and Urdu, Indian, 19th century
India, north-central (possibly Lahore, in what is now Pakistan)
Jan. 1, 1800
Dec. 31, 1900
metal (High Zinc Brass)
Purchased from Trevor Philip & Sons, 75A Jermyn Street, St James, London, England, in 08/1997.Purchase part-funded by a grant from the PRISM fund (Science Museum).
8-inch celestial astrologer’s globe, in brass, Indian, 19th century.
Celestial Globe inscribed in a mixture of Persian, Arabic and Urdu, made somewhere around north central India. Made of High zinc brass. Engraved with astronomical / astrological information. Inscribed with twelve equally spaced meridians. Each hemisphere is incised with twelve gore-shaped panels converging at the “pole”. At each pole there is a circular medallion with a calligraphic inscription, one reading “The Sphere of the Stars” and the other “The Essence of the Zodiac and the Heavens”. The gores are divided into twelve rings in which astrological information is engraved. Each v-shaped “gore” in a hemisphere is devoted to one zodiacal house and contains material associated with that house. Beginning at the narrowest part of the panel, there are letters of the alphabet associated with it; then the seasons of the year and the amount of daylight; unlucky days of the month; the number of days the sun resides in that house; associated temperaments; dejections of the planets and stability of the sign; exaltations and detriments of the planets; associated lunar mansions; elements, directions of the compass, colours, sex, and nocturnal or diurnal attributes; names of angels; the name of the zodiacal house, with the associated planet; and (at the bottom edge) the Urdu names of associated lunar mansions. A wide graduated band has been raised where the two hemispheres are joined together. The information incised on each of the two hemispheres is identical, so that the astrologer can use the sphere either way up.
Small embossed figures are used to represent the zodiacal constellations. Gemini is represented by two male musicians. Virgo by a woman sitting in a boat and holding a dish containing a steaming or burning substance.
Condition good; complete.
Joshua Nall; ‘Local Knowledge’; Explore Whipple Collections online article; Whipple Museum of the History of Science; University of Cambridge; 2020: https://www.whipplemuseum.cam.ac.uk/explore-whipple-collections/astronomy-and-empire/local-knowledge
Astrologer’s globes are a style of globe that is relatively recent in the history of Indian globe-making. They were intended as astrological compendia or aides-mémoire in contrast to traditional celestial globes that operated as models of the heavens. This brass celestial globe is extremely unusual in being inscribed in a mixture of Arabic, Persian and Urdu, representing a blending of traditions. It originated from north-central India and appears to have been designed for astrological use. Small embossed figures are used to represent the zodiacal constellations, and the numerous inscriptions on the globe include information on, among other things: the zodiacal houses; unlucky days of the month; dejections of the planets and stability of the zodiacal signs; exaltations and detriments of the planets and the names of angels.
Created by: Allison Ksiazkiewicz on 14/01/2014
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