Northern Africa, Morocco or Egypt, ca. 19th century CE. A gorgeous armillary sphere with a rotating globe and five rotating arms. It is decorated with Arabic calligraphy, animals, and the signs of the zodiac. The rotating globe and arms can move 360 degrees and are held in place on a central axis. A large, thick brass ring allows the piece to be hung suspended so that all of the moving parts can be easily examined. Armillary spheres, alongside astrolabes and celestial globes, were the earliest three-dimensional celestial models. They became particularly sophisticated from the 10th century CE onward. This example is heavy, with beautiful incised and cast images. Size: 14.25" W x 16.9" H (36.2 cm x 42.9 cm)
A similar example sold at Sotheby's Paris in 2007 for EUR 11,050 (USD: http://www.sothebys.com/fr/auctions/ecatalogue/2007/orientalist-sale-pf7023/lot.138.html)
Provenance: private Los Angeles County, California, USA collection; ex-private Los Angeles, California, USA collection
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