James Madison Council
A manuscript celestial globe on
a wooden sphere, ca. 1650, diameter,
13 cm; height, 26 cm. The celestial
globe has the longest and most
ancient history of any of the
forms of celestial mapping. About
175 pre-1800 Islamic celestial
globes are known to be extant.
The Library’s collection of some
70 pre-1900 globes is composed
entirely of European and American
celestial and terrestrial globes—with
no globe representing globe construction
from traditional Islamic societies.
While most globes of this time
are hollow and/or made of plaster,
on this unusual globe the celestial
information is delicately painted
on a solid wooden sphere. Of the
known Islamic globes in the United
States, none are wooden globes.