Name of Object:
Astronomical instrument: Qiblanuma
Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
Date of Object:
Hegira 1151 / AD 1738
Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Lacquered (Edirnekari technique) on wood.
Diameter 31 cm
Period / Dynasty:
The qiblanuma is a portable astronomical instrument whose name literally means 'showing the direction to the Ka'ba'. The wooden instrument is round, with a lid, and is decorated with lacquering, a technique known as Edirnekari, in red, pink, black, blue, green, and gilding. The main body includes the compass and pointer. The regions where the instrument can be used are shown on a map and a list of cities is given with their Arabic names.
View Short Description
Qiblanumas are portable astronomical instruments that show the direction to the Ka'ba in Mecca, which Muslims face to pray. They remained in use until the late AH 13th / AD 19th century and this example produced in Istanbul was decorated with a lacquering technique known as Edirnekari.
How date and origin were established:
The date 1151 (1738–9) is given on the inside of the lid.
How Object was obtained:
The instrument was transferred to the museum in 1951 from the Hisar Mosque in Izmir, .
How provenance was established:
The inscription inside the lid gives the place of production as Istanbul.
Ölçer, N. et al, In Pursuit of Excellence: The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul, 1993, p.88.
Citation of this web page:
Gönül Tekeli "Astronomical instrument: Qiblanuma" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;tr;Mus01;41;en