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|Title: ||Islamicate Celestial Globes: Their History, Construction, and Use|
|Authors: ||Savage-Smith, Emilie|
Belloli, Andrea P.A.
|Issue Date: ||1985|
|Citation: ||Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology; 46|
|Abstract: ||Islamicate celestial globes made as early as the eleventh century are found in museums and private collections today. There are also references in classical Greek and Roman literature to carlier globes that are no longer extant. These globes are of interest to the history of astronomy, of art, and of technology.
The globe presently in the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution, which is a fine example of a seventeenth-century Mughal Indian globe, was selected for detailed analysis and serves as the focus for this monograph. The first part of the study compares this particular globe with other known Islamicate globes and places the development of such globes within the historical perspective of the earlier Greco-Roman world from which it drew many of its traditions. An historical survey is given of all references and artifacts from the Greco-Roman and Islamic world that can have bearing on our knowledge of the design, construction, and use of such globes. The nature and general characteristics of three basic types of Islamicate celestial globes, and their probable uses as well as methods of construction, are the subjects of the second chapter of the study. Photographs of selected Islamicate globes from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries, as well as line drawings based on written descriptions, accompany the historical and analytical discussion.
The fourth chapter on iconography analyses the constellation figures on the Smithsonian globe from the perspective of an art historian. This chapter was contributed by Belloli, Andrea P.A..
The second major part of the study presents a discussion of the star names engraved on the Mughal globe, tracing the origins of the terms in Greek mythology or early Bedouin constellation outlines. The discussion of each constellation is accompanied by a photograph of the constellation as depicted on the Smithsonian globe. An account of lunar mansions is included as background to early Bedouin asterisms, which greatly affected later Islamicate star names and eventually "modern" western star names.
The sixth section presents an extensive descriptive catalogue of the 126 Islamicate celestial globes known to scholars prior to 1982. The references in the other sections to particular globes are keyed to the entry numbers in this catalog. Following the catalog are tables comparing the features of the globes and transcriptions of the signature inscriptions. Six entries (Nos. 127-132) were added to the catalog while the study was in press.|
|Appears in Collections:||Smithsonian Contributions to History and Technology|
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