Signed as : 'Umar Tashani'
Dated in three places:
1) 'Haziran, the year 1321 (June 1903)'
2) 'The year 1323 (1905-06)'
3) 'The year 1321 Haziran, the year 1323 RA (June 1903), the
year 1323 (1905-06) RA (?)'
From the astrolabe Muslim astronomers ca. 1200 devised an instrument incorporating one half of the markings on a standard astrolabic plate for a specific latitude, the rete being replaced by markings for the ecliptic and a bead with movable thread attached at the centre. The instrument serves only timekeeping by the sun at one latitude. A sexagesimal grid (60x60) is to be found on the back and can be used for solving all of the standard problems of timekeeping for any latitude. This instrument, the astrolabic quadrant, was particularly popular in Ottoman Turkey, and countless examples survive, mainly for the latitude of Istanbul, taken as 41°. They are invariably made of wood, with the astronomical markings attached on paper, which is then lacquered. (The Islamic astronomical quadrant often confused in the modern literature with the medieval European quadrans novus).
This particular example is made for the latitude of 39°, a value used for Bursa in the 16th century. It is signed by Lutfî (rasamahu L means "the astronomical markings were constructed by L") and is dated 1321 Hijra, which corresponds to 1903. (An additional date 1323 is also found on the instrument.) A second name, possibly that of an owner, is carelessly written and not fully legible: 'Umar ???shânî.
The markings are of the standard variety and include curves for the prayers in the mid and late afternoon and at twilight, as well as for the time of fasting in Ramadan, and the azimuth of Mecca (qibla).
Inside the universal markings for the seasonal hours is the statement mâ shâ' Allâh, "whatever God wills (will be)", which is most unusual on an astronomical instrument.
On the astrolabic quadrant with a trigonometric grid on the back see King, Synchrony, vol. 2, pp. 71-80. On one particular example now in the British Museum see ibid., pp. 721-724.
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