I visited the Museum of the History of Science of Oxford last 6th of August and it was one of the best moments in my Holidays. The MUSEUM (in capital letters!) is not so big but it’s so interesting for a person like me and I am going to write some post about it and its collections. However, there is no picture which can show the essence of such a wonderful collection!
I am going to start with some of the astrolabes:
In this picture you can see some interesting astrolabes from different epochs, as for example:
Astrolabe by Muhammad Tahir, Persian, c. 1710
Astrolabe by Muhammad Salih Tatawi, Indo-Persian, 1666/7
Three of the other six astrolabes of this showcase were made by ‘Abd al-A’imma (Persia, early 18th century), another by Shams al-Din Muhammad Saffar (Persia, 1481/2), another by Muhammad Mahdi al-Yazdi (Persia, c.1660), and there is one more from an anonymus astronomer from the 15th or 16th century.
The collection of astrolabes is much greater upstairs where we can find more of them:
Two unsigned Flemish astrolabes. It is still something of a puzzle that many early instruments were not signed by their makers although the more usual practice was to include a signature.
The first astrolabe is attributed to Michael Coignet and the astrolabe behind this has many characteristics of the instruments produced in the workshop begun in Louvain by Gemma Frisius.
Shall we continue? In the Lewis Evans Collection we find (for example) the next Italian 16yh-century astrolabe:
and this Hispano-Moorish one from 1221:
The signature on this astrolabe reads, “In the name of God. Made by Muhammad ibn Fattuh al-Khama’iri in the city of Seville in the year 618 of the Hijra”.
It’s impossible to reproduce all the asrolabes of the museum and perhaps you shouls buy the catalog if you are interested in the. Here you have some Persian astroalber from the 17th and 18th centuries: