Italian invention of the compass, around 1200AD, changed the
course of travel upon the seas for all time. Once, the sun and
stars were the only pathways to foreign places but with the invention
of the compass, intrepid adventurers could travel the globe.
The face of the
compass, known as the compass rose, originated from the earlier
wind rose, which was an instrument that was invented to mark
the direction of wind. Like the wind rose the compass rose was
originally divided into four points showing the direction of
the four winds (north, south, east and west). Later, 12 other
points were made based on the zodiac to fine tune direction and
for map reading. The final 16 additions were added to gain more
precise bearings, resembling a stylized rose.
compass roses, named the winds by where the destination would
be if you followed that heading. In early times, ships were driven
from downwind, with that in mind the early inventors marked the
rose with headings like Gregale wind (Greece-a NE heading) and
Sirocco wind (Syria-a SE heading) denoting the landing point
if you followed certain headings in the Mediterranean Sea.
Even though there
isn't a standard for drafting a compass rose there are some components
that are consistent. The spearhead or fleur-de-lis crest denotes
north and helps when orienting a compass to a map. The east side
of the rose has a cross, denoting the direction to paradise.
The markings on the compass rose were colored for ease in viewing
by candlelight, black for the cardinal points touching the outer
ring (north, south, east, west, northeast, southeast, southwest
and northwest), ½ points (touching the inner ring) are
blue or green, and the ¼ points are usually red.
Four Points of
a Circle: The Compass Rose comprises two Peyote stitched bangles
that represent my interpretation of the early compass roses.
The first bangle, representing the outer ring of the compass
rose, is divided into four equal sections marked with bezel set
stones and pearls, adding a distinct elegance to the design.
The second bangle is a simplified version of the first and represents
the inner ring of the compass rose. Both bangles are supported
with an unusual armature lending support and structure.
Skill level: Intermediate to advanced