England Plus Paris: Part 12: magical device

[Photo: magical device]

From the Islamic world exhibit: "Geomantic Instrument. brass inlaid with silver, gold, and copper. Signed by the crafstman Muhammed b. Khutlukh al-Mawsili. Egypt or Syria, dated 639/1241-2. The domino-like patterns on the dials are the basic geomantic figures and their derivatives, which here are correlated with the mansions of the moon and could be interpreted to foretell the future, discover buried treasure, etc. The back and edges bear blessings and verses boasting of the instrument's powers." In its golden age, maybe Islam wasn't just the center of the scientific world. Maybe it was the center of the pseudo-scientific world, too.


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