Art & Places: Giant Sundial, Pudong, Shanghai, China

When I saw this giant sundial while visiting Shanghai last February, it reminded me of my son who is quite amazed with how a sundial works.

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 And the earliest sundial of China, according to historical documents, was the flat horizontal dial plate, or the horizontal sundial invented in 574 AD.

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51 Comments

    1. Yes, indeed. It’s a good thing that parents can bring their kids here and tell them how to use the sundial. Kak Emi adalah pergi Pusat Planetarium, ada juga sundial. Nanti Kak Emi karang story dulu.

  1. suddenly this remind me of Bintulu Development Authority.. that building is inspired by TUDUNG SAJI.. hahaha. read this dlm Going Places.. again.. the motive?? LOL

  2. Wahhh..banyak nya komen Marvic, semangat betul 🙂 Saya nak jadi pengomen yang setia je laaa..ada hadiah tak? hehehehhe China memang hebat laa bab-bab pembinaan ni. Tengok sundial ni teringat stadium birdnest yang complicated tu.

  3. eh, ingatkan giant sundial ni tumbang sbb besar sgt sundial tu berbanding batang yg menyokong.. rupanya mmg design mcm tu 😛 dan lagi, ada function rupanya.. bkn sekadar hiasan semata-mata 🙂

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