Armillary Sphere

signed: Luigi Cervellati

Bologna, circa 1800

Wood and Papier-mâché

Height: 33,5 cm (13.2 inch)
Diameter: 27 cm (10.6 inch) Ref No: 1624

A central small earth ball, one brass arm for the sun, rings with hand painted scales, ecliptic with houses of zodiac named and with their symbols, signed on the polar circle, paper horizon ring, supported on four turned wooden legs united with cross-stretchers.

An armillary sphere is a model of objects in the sky consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centred on Earth, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features. The word armillary is derived form the Greek term armilla meaning bracelets or rings. By moving these armillary rings, one could demonstrate how the stars moved. However, early models had the Earth at the center of the universe. Like any model, armillary spheres were "modified" or changed with new discoveries.