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"Latitudinal Lilies"

Size: 5" x 7"

Papercutting on archival paper with vintage map scrapbook paper for background.


Latitude is the angular distance, in degrees, minutes, and seconds of a point north or south of the Equator. Given with longitude, (degrees east or west of the prime meridian) latitude can pinpoint an exact location on the surface of the Earth. The Greeks, circa 325 BC, were able to measure latitude by measuring the height of the Sun above the horizon at midday  the length of the day at the summer solstice, and the elevation of the Sun at the winter solstice. The mariner's astrolabe was used from the 15th to 17th centuries to measure latitude by observing the angle of the Sun from the horizon at noon or the angle of a known star at night. This instrument was eventually replaced by the sextant, which was able to measure the angle between any astronomical object and the horizon with greater accuracy. 


Another advantage of a sextant is that is can also be used to measure the angular distance between the moon and another celestial object in order to determine Greenwich Mean Time (the time at the Greenwich Prime Meridian) and hence longitude. Although latitude is now mostly determined via global positioning satellites, the sextant remains a useful backup tool for marine navigation.


Curiously, in order to determine location, one must look up from where one is and take note of the majesty of the heavens. As you navigate life, may this "Longitudinal Lilies" piece remind you to stop, look up from your location, and marvel at the majestic aspects of your life.


Created as part of  the Cartography of Flowers Collection.


This papercut art piece is hand-cut from one sheet of white archival paper and matted with a printed colored vintage map of the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Spain. The floral bouquet is made up of a three lily flowers surrounded by leaves.

Latitudinal Lilies

  • SIZE: 5" x 7"

    MEDIUM: Papercut Archival and Scrapbook Paper


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