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SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS / ISLAMIC QUADRANT: ربع دائِره نك صورت استعملى [Rubu Dairenin Suret-i İsti’mali / User’s Book of Quadrant]



A rare manual, published to revive the ancient knowledge of the use of Islamic Quadrant was written in the time of the Zenith of the Ottoman Empire, by a painter, scientist and captain at the Kuleli Military High School Ahmet Ziya Akbulut.

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8°: 134 pp. Ottoman Turkish with charts and illustrations within text, one originally pasted plate on p. 18, original tan illustrated wrappers, unbound as originally published (Very Good, small folds in corners, wrappers slightly stained, spine with small tears).


A book includes instructions on the use quadrant, accompanied by illustrations and charts. An Islamic quadrant, also called a “computer of the Ottoman Empire”, is a scientific instrument with two sides, which determines the prayer times, the sun elevation angle, the projection line of a certain latitude. It also calculates spherical trigonometric functions, and position of the celestial objects.

A quadrant is one of the oldest astronomical instruments. It is recorded from the 2nd centuy on and was widely used in the Islamic world in the 16th and 17th centuries, usually made of hardwood, such as boxwood. The use of the quadrant fell out of fashion in the first half of the 19th century during so called Tanzimat Reforms, which lasted from 1839 to 1876, when the ancient knowledge in Ottoman schools was revoked by the Europeanisation of the system, started by Mustafa Reşid Pasha (1800 – 1858).

This book is a revival of an ancient knowledge, made a painter, collector of ancient knowledge on scientific instruments, and a teacher at the Military School Ahmet Ziya Akbulut (1869 – 1938). A captain at the Kuleli Military High School Ahmet was a landscape and architectural painter, well-versed in astronomy and mathematics. From 1898 he was a head of Military Printing Office, shch published this book. Ahmet Ziya Akbulut published several books, including manual on the construction of sundials and a book on cosmology, all of which are rare.

This book was published directly after the abolishment of the Ottoman Republic on 1 November 1922, and in the year of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey  on 29 October 1923.

We could only trace one example in institutions worldwide (Pera Museum, Istanbul).

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