Diptych sundial (closed)

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made in Nuremburg, Germany

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

Diptych sundial (closed)

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 closed) was made in 1617, by Lienhart Miler of Nuremburg in Germany.

The photograph shows the outside of the base, which has standard German lunar volvelle in brass. The scales are labelled 1-12 twice (inner) and 1-29 (outer).

A common feature of ivory diptych dials made in Nuremburg and Dieppe was a lunar volvelle to convert the time at night read off a sundial from a shadow cast by moonlight, to the corresponding solar time.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-021-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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