- Museum number
Astronomical compendium; in form of knife: steel blade, ivory handle; hinged steel side-plates and end-cap; four plates are engraved with deities on outside and have calendars on inside; outer end of third plate: hinged silver box with volvelle inside; signature engraved on rotating disc; ivory handle has shallow carvings including Adam and Eve and the Crucifixion; box engraved with date and engraved scenes; inside: miniature equinoctial dial.
- Production date
Length: 246 millimetres
Width: 18 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Ward 1981
The blade and handle of the knife are united by a group of four scrolled leaves. Each side-plate is hinged at the blade end. The first, on the same side as the blade edge, has, on its outer surface, an upper engraving entitled 'Meridies' and a lower entitled 'Jupiter Mars', showing these two deities with their symbols. Above these is a raised plate carrying a shield engraved with a cock and the motto 'merckt recht'. On the inside of this plate is a calendar for January and February. To the left of the dates is a column of weekday letters with A at 1 January; and to the right of the dates a column of numbers, each number being the Golden Number of the year on which New Moon falls on that particular date (thus the entry 17 opposite 2 January means that in any year whose Golden Number is 17, New Moon will fall on 2 January). Below the calendar is an engraving of a draped femalefigure entitled 'fides Spes'.
The second side-plate has on its inside a similar calendar for the four months March, April, May and June; and on its outside engravings entitled 'Aurora' and 'Saturnus', the latter with his symbol. On the outside of the third side-plate are two engravings entitled 'Nox' and 'Mercurius Luna', the latter deities with their symbols. Above the upper one is an applied hinged plate with a blank shield entitled 'deelt war'. The inside of this plate is engraved with a calendar for July and August, below which is an engraving entitled 'Charitas Justitia'. The inside of the fourth plate carries a calendar for September, October, November and December, and its outside has two engravings, 'Vesper' and 'Sol Venus', these deitieswith their symbols.
To the outer end of the third plate is hinged a silver box with hinged lid. The outside of the lid carries decorative engraving and inside a volvelle with a fixed outer ring numbered 2-30 and a central rotating disc marked 1-12 twice over, numbered every three divisions. The figures 2 are of Germanic type. When the lid is opened it reveals a plate with a fixed ring of twenty-eight plus seven Dominical letters and a rotating disc with two indexes engraved: 1606 HARMAN HARMATS VA. NVKE/RCK.
The ivory handle has shallow carvings on all four sides at its inner and outer ends and at its centre fully sculptured carvings of Adam and Eve, the serpent and the apple-tree; the Crucifixion; a hinged figure carrying an orb; and a slightly damaged hinged figure. The outer end of the handle has a three-stage silver cap, each stage
hinged to the preceding one. The sides of the lowest are engraved with the mottoes AENSIEN X DO/ET X GEDENCKE, DEVS X PRO/VIDEBIT, VERSINT X ER/X GHI X BEGINT and IEHOV A. The two mottoes in Dutch can be translated: 'Looking makes one remember'; and: 'Think before you start'. A hinged flap covering the outside of this stage is engraved on its upper surface with the names and latitudes of six towns, and underneath with a landscape with two figures.
The second stage consists of a box, two sides of which are engraved 'Anno 1606' and the remaining two with scenes entitled 'Fiducia' and 'Sapientia' respectively. Inside the box is hinged a miniature universal equinoctial sundial, one surface engraved 1-12, 1-12, clockwise, the other AMSTERDAM 52 and 30 COLEN 50 55. A further hinged semicircular flap is engraved on one side
HAMBORCH 53-35 and on the other DEVENTER 52. The setting quadrant has degrees on one side and MASE 52 on the other. The outermost stage is engraved on its sides: QUOD TIBI/NON VIS FIERI ALTERI/NE FECERIS; and to the top of it is attached an ivory carving of a reclining bearded figure carrying a sickle, whose head rests on a skull. To the bottom of it is hinged a small pierced decorative flap (the hinge broken).
- Not on display
- Latest: 2 (Jul 2015)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: BL.3608 (Bernal Collection)