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 And the earliest sundial of China, according to historical documents, was the flat horizontal dial plate, or the horizontal sundial invented in 574 AD.

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Art & Places: Beaded wire art in Cape Town

When I visited V and A Waterfront in Cape Town, wire beaded sculptures exhibited outside of the main entrance of African Trading Port captured my eyes.  They were huge,very fine and the detailings were magnificent! I wonder how long does it take and how many beads were needed to create one big sculpture. But one thing for sure, this kind of art needs tons of perseverance. It is just amazing that these wire arts are created from wire, beads, tin cans, and other recycled materials. Other than big sculpture like the above, smaller pieces of the wire art in the form of keychains, dolls, decorations, etc, can be found at the  Waterfront Craft Market.

According to this website, it is believed that this wire art originated in South Africa’s rural Northern Kwazulu-Natal. Young herd boys were the first to introduce these works of art. Designing wire creations from any recycled materials they could find, these boys produced some of the most magnificent, functioning appliances—they even built cars! Their inspirational wire creations encouraged other locals to participate in this highly marketable art form.


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