The 12 signs on the back of turtle
- Dimensions: 100 x 70 x 40 mm
- Weight: 120 gr
signs on the face of a Japanese pocket compass
The 12 signs as described in Klaproth's booklet (in the inner circle: the 4 card. pts.):
value, translation and
1 - TSU (rat): north
2 - Tcheou (ox): north 1/3 east
3 - In (tiger): north 2/3 east
4 - MAO (hare): east
5 - Chîn (dragon): east 1/3 south
6 - Szu (snake): east 2/3 south
7 - OU (horse): south
8 - Wei (sheep): south 1/3 west
9 - Chin (ape): south 2/3 west
10 - YEOU (chicken): west
11 - Siu (dog): west 1/3 north
12 - Haï (pig): west 2/3 north
These signs can be combined so as to build 16 directions by dividing each quarter of the full circle in four parts.
Example: Mao chîn = east-south-east
Luo Pan Compass
Traditional Luo Pan compass
Click on the picture for a full screen display
|The astrological Chinese
compass as described by Klaproth in his famous Lettre
le Baron A. de Humbodt sur l'invention de la boussole
Link: The Luo-Pan in A. Schück's book Der Kompass (vol. 2, 1915)
- Diameter: 105 mm
- Depth: 11 mm
- Weight: 150 gr
In the first of the 15 concentric circles surrounding the compass, the eight basic directions are represented by three-lines symbols called trigrams or kua of Fu Xhi.
Table above: the 8 Kua
(at left: Klaproth's study;
at right: Wikipedia)
Material: wood, lacquered
Dim.: 120 x 58 x 18mm
On either side of the 13 notches appears the 24 divisions of the chinese sun calendar (二十四节气 Èrshísì jiéqì). Two are repeated (hence 13). The first and last represent the solstices and the middle one the equinoxes. Around this list are four signs in red ink ( 四序調元 ) meaning "the four seasons in harmony with the original Qi ". This is not a person's or an animal's Qi but the one of a place during a certain season.
Instructions for use:
When the needle is oriented to any city name, the minaret will then point to Mecca.
(Click on the picture for a detailed view of the cities' names on the dial and HERE for their transcription in English)
- Diameter: 48 mm
- Depth: 10 mm
- Weight: 35 gr
- Date: 1st half of 20th C.
The face features four concentric areas:
- The exterior one contains the figures 1-11. The figure 12, which is not printed is represented by the minaret's roof pointing North (clockwise, sundial function - see also L'Abée-Lund).
- The 2nd one contains the cardinal points in red (see explanation under MISCELLANEOUS / Cardinal points)
- A dotted line separates the 3rd and 4th areas featuring city names.
The words left of the minaret mean: made by the Mint without indication of a specific country. The minaret's architecture and the red crescent and star in the center under the needle's axis indicate that this item was probably made in Turkey (see enlarged view)
Compassipedia thanks the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA, Paris) and THE BOREAL ARROW for the friendly help and translation.
The numbers in the arabic writing
- Diameter: 43 mm
- Depth: 10 mm
- Weight: 10 gr
- Divisions: 0-39 in arabic figures and "neskhi"
Instructions for use:
Each country or main city on Earth has its own reference number indicated in a handbooklet. This compass dial is divided into 40 segments. If you are in London, you must select area 25. When the magnetic needle points to this figure, the white arrow on the compass dial (zero) will then point to Mecca (marking: "Direction of Al Qibla") i.e. South-by-South-East.
|Examples of compasses made by Houlliot (early 20th C.)|
Robert PRETOT filed
in 1952 a patent
(no. 1,054,674 completed in 1955) for a
modernized Qibla compass. Several versions were described (see images at r., full text
featuring a camel-shaped gnomon
- Dia. 6¾" / 172 mm
- Engravings on rear face:
Pictures courtesy antique-scientific-instruments
Pictures by courtesy of Arlete Anderson
(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Markings (on side):
Registr. 8548 K K Berlin
- Diameter (compass): 1 1/4" - 32 mm
- Height (pendulum alone): 2 3/4" - 70 mm
- Case: 5 x 2 1/2 x 2" - 270 x 68 x 5 mm
- Weight: 1.6 oz - 36 gr
- Electrodes: cylindrical rods, flattened at the end like screw-drivers, connected via a metallic wire, wrapped around the pendulum's "waist".
The instrument in a luxurious case with silk cushions