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Da'irat al-Mu'addil

Image credit: The Khalili Collections

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In the mid-fifteenth century an Egyptian astronomer called 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Muhammad al-Wafa'i al-Miqati, who was timekeeper (muwaqqit) at the mosque of al-Mu'ayyad in Cairo, invented an instrument that combined a qiblah compass with a sundial, which he called the da'irat al-mu'addil ('equatorial circle'). It was described by him and by later astronomers, including the Turkish admiral Seydi Ali Reis. Perhaps as a result of the work of Seydi Ali, the instrument became popular in Ottoman Turkey. The base plate of this instrument houses a magnetic compass is marked at the circumference with the names of various cities and so that, when aligned on the meridian, it gives the direction of Mecca. When correctly oriented, the instrument also functions as a sundial.

The Khalili Collections

London

Title

Da'irat al-Mu'addil

Date

1161 AH (1748–1749)

Medium

brass, beaten, cast & engraved, attached to a wooden base

Accession number

1011

Work type

Sculpture

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The Khalili Collections

London, Greater London England

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