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Of this astrolabe, only the star chart known as rete or ‘Ankabut survives. Its diameter is 326 mm. 14 bright stars are marked on this ‘Ankabut. These star pointers are joined by a calligraphic design which reads that the astrolabe was produced during the reign of Jahangir, in 1037 AH, for Nawab Khwaja Abul Hasan. At the back is the signature of the maker. The patron was a distinguished noble, the brother of Nur Jahan and father of Mumtaz Mahal. Corresponding to his high status, the astrolable was lavishly produced. On the left and right sides of the ‘Ankabut, there are floral designs which were originally embedded with gems.

This is a unique piece. Among the one thousand and odd Islamic astrolabes that survive today in various museums throughout the world, there are occasional attempts to incorporate calligraphic designs into the ‘Ankabut; but nowhere so completely and regally as in the present specimen. It is a great pity that only a part is available and not the whole astrolabe.




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