This item has been added to the Database within the Explore Islamic Art Collections project. Information is available in: English.

Name of Object:



Los Angeles, United States of America

Holding Museum:

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

About Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles

Date of Object:

Hegira 624 / AD 1226–27

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Gilt copper alloy


Overall: 21.3 x 13.97 x 2.9 cm

Period / Dynasty:





The astrolabe is an astronomical instrument device that Muslims inherited from the Hellenistic world and then passed on to medieval Europe. According to its inscriptions, this handsome gilt brass astrolabe was made in Seville, in southern Spain. Like all such instruments, it was designed to measure the altitude of the stars, sun or moon, and to establish different astronomical and topographical associations without resorting to calculations or formulas. It was especially valuable for timekeeping, as the Muslim times of prayer are astronomically determined. In addition to being functional, the astrolabe was also intended to be beautiful. This example is unusual in that it seems to have been altered nearly 70 years after it was made, possibly in Egypt or Syria; Seville had by that time already fallen to the Christian reconquest.

Citation of this web page:

 "Astrolabe" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;us;Mus21;15;en

MWNF Working Number: US1 15


 Artistic Introduction

Islamic Dynasties / Period


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