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The James Madison Council

Persian Celestial Globe

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.






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