Completed in April 2000, this giant sundial sculpture, known as Oriental Light, is situated at the eastern end of Century Avenue, forming the entrance to Century Square, Pudong, Shanghai. This large scale sculpture which represents a huge time piece also serves as public modern art and the first of it’s kind of large-scale urban landscape sculptures in China. The large elliptical frame measures 400 square meters and the total length of the stainless steel tubes used exceeds 6,000 meters. Oriental Light was built based on an idea by French architect, Jean Marie Charpentier.
A sundial is an instrument that measures time by the position of the sun. Called “rigui” in Chinese, a sundial is a timepiece that indicates the daylight hours by the shadow that the gnomon casts on a calibrated dial in ancient China. A typical sundial is made up of a bronze pointer and a stone dial. The earliest sundial in the world was created some 6,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. And the earliest sundial of China, according to historical documents, was the flat horizontal dial plate, or the horizontal sundial invented in 574 AD.