Each of the seven planets is accorded attributes - including zodiacal signs and lunar mansions - representing the rotation of the sun and the moon round the earth. (Called nakshatra in India, the lunar mansions are 28 divisions of the sky, presumably selected as approximate ’Moon stations’ on successive nights.)
|One of the many treasures from the Wellcome Library’s celebrated Asian Collections is a rare example of an astrological work entitled Nujum al-'Ulum 'Stars of Sciences'. The Wellcome manuscript is a fragment copied from an earlier work (dated AD 1575), which was probably commissioned by ‘Ali’ Adil Shah II of Bijapur in India.|
Among the illustrations in this text are representations of planets, some of which are shown as personifications. The planet Mercury, for example, is represented as a scribe. Particularly striking are the tiny miniatures, encapsulated in medallions, representing the thirty degrees of each of the zodiacal signs.
Illustrated texts – such as the ‘Stars of Sciences’ – were produced as manuals that set out the cosmological order of the heavens and explained their astrological significance.