7 x 4 1/2 x 15/16 in. (17.8 x 11.5 x 2.4 cm)
Persian; made in Isphahan Province
Medium and Support:
Location: Currently on view
Astrolabes are ancient hand-held astronomical and astrological instruments used to measure the height of the sun or a star above the horizon. These measurements, made by manipulating a series of circular brass plates, show how the skies will appear at a specific place at a given time. Although the Greeks invented the basic astrolabe more than 2,000 years ago, Muslim scholars had created sophisticated instruments by around 800 CE. They introduced the devices to Europe through Islamic Spain, or Andalusia, in the early 1100s, where they became a basic component in scientific education.
[Gallery label text, 2009]