Celestial globe

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made in China

Postcard of Celestial globe.
© National Museums Scotland

Celestial globe

This celestial globe made in China around 1820. It is made of tin-plated copper and is unsigned and undated. The globe would have originally fitted with a clockwork rotation drive, and is one of only five such early Chinese globes known.

The globe is made in two hemispheres, joined around the equator. It is marked with constellations and with lines for celestial longitudes and latitudes. Of hollow construction, the globe has a hole for a spindle at the poles, and a winding hole.

The first part of an astronomical and horological encyclopedia was published in 1807 in Shanghai and included a discussion about the construction of non-mechanised globes. However, it may well have provided the inspiration for this globe.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-819-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1984.102
Date: Around 1820
c. 1820
Dimensions: 8.00"
Subject: 3. ASTRONOMY, Celestial globes (Departmental Classification)
Where: China
Description: 8" Chinese celestial globe of tin-plated copper, unsigned, c. 1820
  • Combridge, John H., 'The Clock-driven Celestial Globes of Qu Mei-Lu and Others' in Antiquarian Horology 17 (1987), pp 165-74 
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