Antique Islamic Planispheric Astrolabe - Extremely Old Engraved Brass Home Decor

Antique Islamic Planispheric Astrolabe - Extremely Old Engraved Brass

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  • Authentic Antique Astrolabe
  • Hand-Engraved Brass
  • 36cm tall x 27cm wide (14in x 10.6in)
  • Free Shipping from Morocco

This rare and unusual antique brass astrolabe is likely Persian or Maghribi, discovered many years ago in the southern Moroccan desert. Quite large, the antique astrolabe is made of brass and carefully and ornately engraved with markings to indicate time, direction, star positions, and more. Comparable astrolabes date from the 17th or 18th century. 

The astrolabe is an amazing tool is considered the precursor to the modern smartphone: it gives you the time, your location, your horoscope, and even help you make decisions—all with the swipe of a hand. Astrolabes became popular during the height of the Roman Empire and remained popular until about the 18th century, when they fell out of favor.

These multi-use tools typically consist of a circular stack of sliding features, all embedded within a disk called a “mater”. A round plate containing a two-dimensional projection of the Earth’s latitudinal lines sits within the mater and, over that plate, another circular feature called the “rete” contains the locations of certain well-known stars in the sky. Over that, a straight rule pivots around to line up with time measurements along the edge of the mater. And on the back of the whole thing, a pivotable siting device helps find the altitude of a star—often the starting point of a calculation. (source: Smithsonian Magazine)

Often found in shipwrecks, this unusual scientific tool was located in the southern Moroccan desert town of Zagora. Astrolabes make impressive wall decorations and conversation pieces. They are quite difficult to find in good condition and are treasured by collectors. Please note this particular astrolabe consists only of the two parts: the mater and the rete.

Details & Dimensions

Free worldwide shipping direct from Morocco.

36cm tall x 27cm wide (14in x 10.6in)

Private Collection, Morocco

This item ships directly from Morocco.

All sales on Silver Sahara abide by fair trade principles, and benefit the native artisans to help ensure continuation of traditional craft techniques.

Handmade; please allow for minor imperfections and design variations. Please inquire with any questions or for more pictures.