Accession No


Brief Description

universal equinoctial ring dial with Devanagari / Sanskrit script, Indian, late 19th century


India (north or central - possibly Jaipur)




Earliest Date

Jan. 1, 1875

Latest Date

Dec. 31, 1900

Inscription Date


metal (brass)


external diameter: 145mm

Special Collection


Purchased from Tesseract, Box 151, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, 10706 on or before 20/03/2003.


'द.क्रांति' [possibly 'north revolution']
'उ.क्रांति' [possibly 'south revolution']
'दक्षिणाय' 'दक्षिणायन' or 'दाक्षायण्य' [unclear]
‘क’ [k] ‘भी’ [bhee] ‘मे’ [may] ‘वृ’ [vrah] ‘िम’ [mi]
‘वृ’ [vrah], ‘तु’ [tu], ‘क’ [k], ‘िस’ [si], ‘क’ [k] [these two lines are the initials of the zodiac houses]
[numbers inscribed around ring]

Description Notes

Universal equinoctial ring dial with Devanagari / Sanskrit script, Indian, late 19th century

Meridian ring calibrated for all latitudes, divided 0˚ - 90˚ - 0˚, numbered by 6˚, subdivided by 2˚. Reverse of meridian ring divided to 360˚, similarly divided to front, but unnumbered. Sliding suspension shackle and ring. Equinoctial ring divided 0 - 20, numbered by 1, subdivided every half, continuing to inner face (divided two thirds of the way round, with markings for further unfinished divisions). Pierced bridge divided to initialed zodiac houses; reverse carries declination scale, 0 - 20˚, numbered by 5˚, subdivided to 1˚. All markings in Devanagari script, so either Sanskrit or Hindi. See OHF for details of script provided by researcher.


Joshua Nall; ‘Local Knowledge’; Explore Whipple Collections online article; Whipple Museum of the History of Science; University of Cambridge; 2020:


Universal equinoctial ring dial
Indian, late 19th century

This type of sundial was used to tell the time at any latitude, and so was popular with sailors and other travellers. The dial consists of two rings, with a central bridging bar that houses a sliding pinhole.

When the dial has been set for the correct latitude, sunlight passes through the pinhole and falls onto the inner ring's hour scale, giving the correct time.

Created by: Ruth Horry on 28/01/2004


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