Diptych sundial (open)

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made in Nuremburg, Germany

Postcard of Diptych sundial (open).
© National Museums Scotland

Diptych sundial (open)

Diptych sundials have two plates hinged together, and in use open out to form a right angle, with the string hinge operating as a gnomon. This ivory example (pictured here open) was made in 1617, by Lienhart Miler of Nuremburg in Germany.

The inside of the base has a sunk compass and is engraved with a horizontal dial with Italian and Babylonian hours, and the inscription 'LIENHART MILER 1617'. The lid has a vertical dial and a pin gnomon dial with 'QVANTITAS DIEI' ['Length of the day'].

In the 16th century ivory diptych sundials came from three main centres: Nuremburg and Augsberg in Germany, and Dieppe in France.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-671-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1924.10
Date: 1617
Material: Ivory, inlaid metal. Inscription: [On base] Italian and Babylonian hours; [inside lid] length of days
Dimensions: 3.63" x 2.25"
What: Sundial, portable
Subject: 20. TIME MEASUREMENT, Sundials (Departmental Classification)
Who: Lienhart Miler, Nuremburg (Sundial maker)
Where: Germany, Nuremburg
Description: Portable sundial in ivory, book form, base with sunk compass and engraved with a horizontal dial and Italian and Babylonian hours, made by Lienhart Miler, Nuremburg, 1617
  • For a comparable example, see Lloyd, Steven A., Ivory Diptych Sundials 1570-1750. London & Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard, 1992. p 68 
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