Rare hight-lattitude Russian portable sundial by Zahava dated 1816

Rare hight-lattitude Russian portable sundial by Zahava dated 1816

7000 euros



Country of manufacture


Categories: Portable Sundials, Timekeeping


A very unusual Russian portable dial, dated 1816 and signed in Cyrillic “Tula. P: Zahava, 1816 20 Dec., No. 31.” [the “3” have been formely cancelled].

The instrument is constructed of silvered and natural brass and measuring 11×13 cm. 

The sundial has a folding 45-degree gnomon mounted on a hinged chapter ring (divided every 5 and labeled every 15 minutes from 3:30am to 8:30pm) adjustable against a 45 – 90 (divided every degree) folding latitude arc. 

There is a plumb bob frame and three screws. 

The main plate bears a glazed compass with circumferential degree scale, NSEW directionals, and an elegant blued needle. 

Condition is fine, despite some dust.

It preserved in a appropriate 19th wooden box.


Early Russian dials are rare, this an unusual form, intermediate between a horizontal dial and a hinged equinoctial dial. 

It functions from a minimum latitude of 45 to a maximum of 90, and thus covers almost the whole of Russia from Vladivostok (43) to Moscow (56), St.Petersburg (60), and Murmansk (69).

Zahave signature is also rare.

Provenance : Tesseract catalogue 87, item 15.

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FR Le Zograscope

Established by Alexandre Piffault in 2014 and based in Paris at 5 rue de Condé, 75006, very close to Odéon, Le Zograscope specializes in antique and rare books in Science, Medicine and Technology, and rare antique instruments in the same fields. We have especially a strong interest in early and continental microscopy, early and special mathematical/drawing instruments, medical and surgical instrument, and rare technology.

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