An Astrolabe by Muhammad Muqim of Lahore Dated 1047 AH (1637–38 CE)
AbstractAstrolabe was the most important astronomical instrument in the medieval period. It became popular in the Indian subcontinent after the eleventh century. The production of astrolabes and celestial globes in the Indian subcontinent was dominated by Ustad Allah Dad and his descendants in the second half of the sixteenth century and in the seventeenth century. Their astrolabes display a fine combination of geometrical precision, high level of metal craft and aesthetic beauty. Allah Dad’s descendants revolutionised the production of the celestial globes by casting them as single hollow spheres by the lost-wax process. About a hundred and twenty astrolabes and twenty-five globes made by this family are extant today in museums and private collections in India, Middle East, Europe and USA. In Pakistan, however, there are just two astrolabes made by Allah Dad’s grandson Mu╒ammad Muqim are available. One is housed in the Lahore Museum and the other is kept in the Islamabad Museum. Nevertheless, these two astrolabes constitute an important national heritage and deserve to be studied in detail. The present paper offers a full technical study of an elegant astrolabe made by Mu╒ammad Muqim in 1637, which is now preserved in the Islamabad Museum.
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