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Bonhams offers a rare and unique Zand Dynasty 18th century Persian gilded celestial Globe
Passed down through a private English family, the finely engraved globe contains the position of 83 stars and their Persian names as well as the Persian names for the North and South Poles. Photo: Bonhams.


LONDON.- Bonhams is to auction a rare and unique Zand Dynasty (1751-1794) gilded celestial Globe dated 1190AH/1776AD at its next sale of Indian and Islamic art on October 4th in New Bond Street. It is estimated to sell for £40,000 to £60,000.

Passed down through a private English family, the finely engraved globe contains the position of 83 stars and their Persian names as well as the Persian names for the North and South Poles. The only known dated example securely attributable to the Zand period, it is an important addition to the small surviving group of Persian celestial globes. The use of gold and the very fine script indicate the possibility that this globe was made for the Zand ruler Mohammad Karim Khan Zand (1751-1779).

The Zand period is remarkable for its short length and high artistic productivity. Spanning only 44 years, and an incredible seven rulers, it was a period of relative peace and economic growth when many territories previously lost to the Ottomans were recaptured. The British established a trading post in the port of Busehr, extending the influence of the British East India company in Iran. The art of this era is remarkable, producing a distinct school of painting, fine enamel work and calligraphy.

Celestial globes were used primarily for solving problems in celestial astronomy. Although known to have been used in Antiquity, the form of the celestial globe came into being in the Islamic world. Only 200 instruments remain in private and museum collection worldwide, the earliest dating to the 11th century.

The following stars are labelled:
*al-judayy - the pole star [Polaris in Ursa Minor]
*al-qafzah al-thaniyah - the 'second leap' [two stars in Ursa Major, but only one star indicated]
*na'sh [4 stars in Ursa major]
*banat [3 stars in the tail of Ursa Major]
*saghir al-asad - an error for zahr al-asad 'the back of the lion' [1 star in Leo]
*simak ramih - [Arcturus, in Bootes]
*kaff al-khadib - the 'dyed hand' [5 stars in Cassiopeia]
*simak 'azal [Spica, in Virgo]
*al-ghafr - this is the name of the 15th lunar mansion; somewhat curious to have on the globe
*fam al-qitus - 'the mouth of Cetus' [1 star in Cetus]
*dhanab al-qitus - [Deneb Kaitos, in Cetus]
*surrat al-faras - 'the navel of the horse' [Sirrah, in Pegasus]
*janah al-faras - 'the wing of the horse' [Algenib in Pegasus]
*fam al-faras - 'the mouth of the horse' [1 star in Pegasus]
*dhanab al-dajajah - 'the tail of the bird' [Deneb in Cygnus]
*minqar al-dajajah - 'the bird's beak' [1 star in Cygnus]
*'ayn al-thawr - 'the eye of the bull' [Aldebaran in Taurus]
*mankib al-faras - 'the shoulder of the horse' [1 star in Pegasus] - this is an error. The star should be labelled mankib al-jawza' 'the shoulder of the giant' [Betelgeuse, in Orion]
*mirfaq al-thurayya - the elbow of thurayya' [Mirfak in Perseus]
*'ayyuq - [Capella, in Auriga]
*shi'ra yamaniyah 'abur - [Sirius, in Canis Major]
*shi'ra shamaniyah - [Procyon, in Canis Minor]
*rijl jawza [probably al-yusra] - 'the foot of the giant'[Rigel, in Orion]
*akhir al-nahr - 'the end of the river' [Achenar, in Eridanus]
*sab - 'the wild beast' [the name of the constellation Lupus, not a star name]
*dhanab - 'tail' [probably meant to be 'tail of the wild beast']
*rijl Qinturus - 'foot of the centaur' [Rigil Kent in Centaurus]
*ra's al-iklil - 'the top of the crown' one of the stars in Corona Australis (an unusual star name)
*rukhat al-rami - 'the knee of the archer' [1 star in Sagittarius]
*fam al-hut - 'the mouth of the fish' [1 star in Piscis Austrinus]

At the north celestial pole:
*qutb shimal [the north pole], badly worn

At the south celestial pole:
*sanah 1190 [year 1190] = 1776AD
*qutb junubi [the south pole]






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