Celestial sphere with stand

Unknown19th century

National Museum - New Delhi

National Museum - New Delhi

The celestial sphere is nearly an exact model of the earth; it has several cartographic advantages not offered by flat maps. The parallels and meridians used for location purposes can be correctly drawn, the scale is correct everywhere over the curved surface and the areas and shapes of continents and seas are accurately shown. The Mughal Emperor Humayun had keen interest in astronomy and astrology. His knowledge in this field influenced him so much that he used to carry out his day to day work as per the guidance of astronomy. Number of miniature paintings shows his love for the subject. Besides inscription, the first celestial sphere depicts human, animal and bird figures, Line of equator, positioning of stars, zodiac and much more information has been marked by silver inlay dots at places. This is inscribed with the date of 2nd year of Shah Jahan’s reign, which is 1629 CE. The second sphere has a proper stand which also is part of the instrument. The usual trend in celestial spheres follows the classic Ptolemaic constellations in their standard pictorial form together with their designations in Arabic and several stars. This sphere has many inscriptions in Arabic to indicate the position of planets and stars.

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  • Title: Celestial sphere with stand
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 19th century
  • Location: North India
  • Physical Dimensions: L: 36.0; W:31.0 cm
  • Original Language: Arabic
  • Medium: Brass
  • Technique: Casting and Engraving
  • Script: Naskh
  • Accession Number: 56.155/1