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102676 | GERMANY. Augsburg. Engraved silver perpetual calendar (circa 1675).

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    102676 | GERMANY. Augsburg. Engraved silver perpetual calendar. Issued circa 1675 (44mm, 20.90 g).


    Three pieces, with all disks hand engraved and fully functioning: PERPETUUM CALENDARIUM in outer border, with scrollwork; within inner border, nude female (personifying the passage of time) holding billowing sail and riding upon winged wheel; in background, ducks upon the waters and in flight right; between outer and inner borders, five cutouts in outer disk revealing numbers upon inner disk corresponding to: "Monat" & "tage" (month & day), "tag Lang" (daylight hours), "Nacht Lang" (nighttime hours), "Son Aufgan" (hour of sunrise), and "Son Vntergang" (hour of sunset), as well as additional cutout revealing the first day of the relevant zodiac for that month // Elaborate scrollwork in outer border; pastoral scene with farmhand seated right, smoking pipe; dog reclining at his foot; two cows grazing before castle-like façade; to lower right, two small figures standing upon dock, pointing upward; upon central panel reading downward at 90º angle, the days of the week (Sontag, Montag, Dingstag, Mitwoch, Donnerstag, Freytag, Sonabent), along with their respective symbols (☼, ☽, ♂︎, ☿, ♃, ♀︎, ♄), with a large cutout below revealing the corresponding day on the calendar for that date.


    Cf. Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) accession 03.21.70 (for a similar example of Dutch origin); cf. British Museum accession 1888,1201.332 (for a similar example); cf. Christie's 3025 (27 March 2013), lot 3 (for a similar example of Dutch origin, which realized a hammer of £3,500 [~$4,300, plus buyer's fee]). Extremely Fine. Attractively toned, with elegant, intricate engraving and both disks fully functioning. A very rare survivor of the type, with all of its facets simply elevating its unique nature that much more. Please watch the videos to see its full functionality.


    Though manners of marking the days are seemingly ubiquitous now, with not just printed calendars on nearly every wall, but at one's fingertips in the form of smartphones and watches, this certainly wasn't always the case, especially centuries ago. As such, perpetual calendars like this example allowed the bearer the instant ability to know vital stats about that time of year, such as approximate sunrise and sunset, length of day and night, beginning of the next zodiac sign, and what day of the week it was. Similar to the various "skins" and cases for one's smartphone, these perpetual calendars also had hand engraving to make them unique for their respective owner. In the case of this example, designs that evoke the passage of time and pastoral contemplation.


    On account of the first days of each zodiac sign, it becomes obvious that this example was produced in a time and region that still adhered to the Julian calendar, which steadily fell behind the Gregorian calendar over time. Given that Aquarius is listed as beginning on January 10th, and Pisces on February 9th, essentially 10 days before they would be expected, with respect to the Gregorian calendar, it is likely that this calendar dates to the latter part of the 17th century in Protestant Germany, as Prussia had already adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1610, and Catholic-leaning states in Germany had adopted it between 1583 and 1585.


    Upload: 15 January 2024.


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