The compass or the V-shaped hinged instrument for drawing circles and taking measurements is made of brass. One of its arms has a pincer-shaped claw for holding ink into it while the second one is pointed for lightly piercing into the surface on which a circle is to be drawn. The second instrument is a stylus for incising letters on palmleaf on which early Indian manuscripts were written. The stylus is an iron instrument embellished with silver rings.
The compass of this kind was mainly used for making astrological scrolls in which the various constellations of stars and planets were shown in intersecting circles. It was also used for drawing mandalas in tantric texts as well as a tool for learning geometry and making architectural drawings. The stylus of this kind is still in use in Orissa where the art of writing and drawing on palmleaf is a living tradition.