Click main image below to view enlargements and captions.

Globe, Astronomy, Armillary Sphere, Equatorial Armilla, Beijing Observatory, Bronze Replica, 20th Century

Equatorial Armilla
Chinese: 20th Century
13.5 x 11 x 5.75 inches

Bronze replica miniature model of the Equatorial Armilla, a huge 6-foot diameter 17th-century armillary sphere displayed outdoors at the Beijing Ancient Observatory in China. The rings are supported on a decorative stand comprised of a semicircular support atop a traditional motif of a Chinese dragon with arched back, on an x-form base headed by four recumbent lions. The purpose of the Equatorial Armilla is to provide readings of true solar time as well as right ascension difference and distances of celestial objects.

Product description continues below.


The Beijing Ancient Observatory dates to the year 1442 during the Ming dynasty. It is a Chinese National Heritage Site and is now the historical wing of the Beijing Planetarium. The observatory’s Equatorial Armilla was designed by the Belgian Jesuit missionary Ferdinand Verbiest in 1673, one of six instruments commissioned from him by the Manchu Emperor Kangxi. These instruments were modeled on those created by the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) who was known for the accuracy of his measurements. Brahe established and operated Uraniborg, an astronomical observatory and alchemy laboratory, built about 1580 on the island Hven.


Chapman-Rietschi, P.A.L. “The Beijing Ancient Observatory and Intercultural Contacts.” The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. 21 September 1993. pp. 1, 7 and 10.

“Equatorial Armilla.” Beijing Ancient Observatory. 10 August 2020. (9 February 2021).

“History of the Observatory.” Beijing Ancient Observatory. 2021. (9 February 2021).

Additional information

Globe Type





20th Century