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Planispheric astrolabe

  • Accession Number:AKM611
  • Place:Spain (Historic al-Andalus),
  • Dimensions:13.5 cm
  • Date:1300s
  • Materials and Technique:Bronze inlaid with silver

In the Iberian Peninsula of the fourteenth century, Muslim scientists worked together with Christian and Jewish counterparts to translate and transmit scientific knowledge to Europe. This astrolabe may have been made in Toledo, Spain, then a major centre of scientific translation. The inscriptions on the astrolabe bear the names of constellations in both Arabic and Latin, with additional inscriptions in Arabic. Later, Hebrew was added to one of the plates. The plates inside the astrolabe include projections for different geographical latitudes and represent different phases of use, confirming that the practical life of this astrolabe extended beyond the place and time of its initial manufacture. One of the functions of the astrolabe in Muslim civilizations was to determine the direction toward Mecca (the qibla) and to establish the times of prayer.

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