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