Home > Collections > Collections

Gilt Copper Universal Equinoctial Sundial

< 1 >
Period: eighteenth century
Origin: England
Dimensions: height: 22 cm, bottom diameter: 18 cm

The base panel of the sundial is inlaid with a compass in the center and is encircled by double rings for the purpose of telling the direction. Around the edge of the base panel are two levels laid perpendicular to each other. They can be adjusted to the horizontal by turning the three screws designed as the sundial's feet. Two rings stand vertical to the base panel. The inner one (which is smaller) is the equinoctial ring. Inside it is a carved round panel. Once the equinoctial ring is parallel with the tropical plane and the carved panel is parallel with the sun light, the shadow of the carved panel tells the time. In addition, the carved panel is perpendicular to another circular plate on which Roman numbers of the hours are carved. In this way, once the equinoctial ring and the carved panel are set, users can read time both from this panel and from the base panel. Therefore Chinese and Western systems of time keeping are combined in one device, which is very rare. This sundial can also measure the solar altitude.
  The sundial comes from England. It is thought to have been a tribute in the early Qianlong reign (1736-1795). During the Qianlong reign Western envoys and missionaries often carried sundials with them to China through Guangdong, ready to present them to the emperor.

About the
Palace Museum