This artifact, originating from the 19th century Islamic world, is a navigational instrument with significant religious purpose. This tool is crafted meticulously from dark mahogany wood, attesting to a high degree of precision and craftsmanship. The central feature is a circular cavity, akin to a compass, designed to enable the user to face Mecca in accordance with Islamic practice.

Within the circular cavity is a similar wooden disk, flush with the surrounding surface. The surface of this disk has delicately carved Arabic calligraphy and markings, which reference the direction of Mecca from various locations globally. Notably, these meticulous details remain well preserved after a prolonged period of usage.

The periphery of the wood piece exhibits a detailed system of coordinates, carved with remarkable precision, reflecting a sophisticated understanding of geography and cartography of the time. These coordinates primarily serve the purpose of establishing the direction of Mecca from key cities within Islamic territories.

The rear of the artifact features a rudimentary diagram of a square superimposed on a circle with additional intricate inscriptions and markings, acting as a visual aid for the user.

Historically, this instrument played dual roles within the Islamic community: it was essential for daily prayer rituals, aiding in the orientation towards the Holy Kaaba and it was a vessel for disseminating scientific knowledge within the society, embodying advancements in geography, mathematics, and astronomy of the time.

Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo
Mosque of Mohammed Ali