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Jakob Stampfer, Zurich, 1550/1552
Cast and beaten silver, engraved, and partly gold-plated
H 38 cm
Historisches Museum Basel
Inv. 1882.103.
Amerbach Cabinet

Bonifacius Amerbach bought this superb piece from his friend Thomas Blarer, the Mayor of Constance, in 1555. We know from the written account of a guest of Amerbach’s son Basilius dated 1579 that the family used the two halves of the globe as drinking vessels, having learned how to do so from a goldsmith and by following written instructions. Whether this is what the globe’s maker, the goldsmith Jakob Stampfer (1505/1506–1579) of Zurich, intended it is impossible to say, since the scientific character of the piece seems to be the more important one. The rotating terrestrial globe rests on a circular foot with an engraved perpetual calendar and a baluster-shaped shaft. It is encircled by an equator ring with an engraved calendar and a graduated meridian ring. Mounted on the north polar cap is a small armillary sphere. Of particular interest is the cartographic representation of the Earth’s surface with its gold-plated land masses and silver oceans populated by sea monsters and the explanatory inscriptions engraved in the globe’s surface.