Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Hegira 411 / AD 1020
Carved and engraved brass
Measurement: L: 19cm (with hinges), D: 12.2cm, T: 1.2cm
This rare astrolabe is considered to be one of the oldest known dated astrolabes from Muslim Spain. It was made by the celebrated Andalusi astrolabist, Muhammad ibn al-Saffar in Cordoba, dated 411 AH / 1020 AD as mentioned in the signature within a square space at the back of its mater. The date follows the Arabic alphanumeric system known as abjad. The year is marked by a combination of letters ta-ya-alif, that corresponds to ta (400), ya (10) and alif (1), which totals up to 411. The astrolabe contains six plates which correspond to two localities for each plate, among which are Makkah, Damascus, Cairo and Cordoba. The rete, on the other hand, is a new addition from the 17th-century Ottoman Turkey. The maker of this astrolabe, Muhammad ibn al-Saffar (d. 1029) made several astrolabes and other scientific instruments with at least three are known to survive and are today scattered in different museums.
"Astrolabe" in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;my;Mus21;47;en&id=scientific_objects
MWNF Working Number: MY1 47