Planispheric astrolabe

Spanish (Barcelona)
Medieval (Gothic)
dated 1375
Petrus Raimundus


Object Place: Europe, Barcelona, Spain

Dimensions

10.9 x 16.2 cm (4 5/16 x 6 3/8 in.)

Accession Number

88.654

Medium or Technique

Gilded brass

On View

Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Instruments

Foliated scroll attachment at top; the inner discs are engraved on both sides with circles and figures, the open-work piece above these is covered with engraved letters and figures.


The astrolabe is a two-dimensional model of the universe, used to tell time by measuring the altitudes of the sun or a selected fixed star at a given moment. Originating with the Greeks (its name comes from the ancient Greek astrolobos, “star-taker”) and refined by Muslim astronomers in the Middle Ages, it was one of the most important and versatile early scientific instruments. Beyond time-telling, its uses ranged from navigation to charting horoscopes, and it served as inspiration for later astronomical clocks like the one in this case. Signed and dated, this astrolabe is one of the earliest known European examples.

Inscription

Around the edge is the inscription: " + Hoc astralabium: fuit factum : et cum armillis verifficatum Barghionone : anno Xri 1375. per Petrum Raimodi de domo regis Aragonum : lati Barghinone : 41 longi 39"

Provenance

Before 1876, A. C. Baldwin

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. A. C. Baldwin