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1FNatural timepieces

Introduction of this section
Starting from the earliest devices that used Nature to measure time, this section at the entrance of the 1st floor traces the evolution of timekeeping. The Earth's daily rotation and yearly revolution always define our time and calendar. The world's first timepiece is thought to have been a sundial used in Egypt circa 4000 B.C. After that, mankind used other aspects of Nature to tell time, including water, combusion clocks and hourglass.
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Equatorial Sundial

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A shadow moves clockwise
The Equatorial Sundial was made in China during the Ching Dynasty in the 18th century. The gnomon points towards Polaris, and the sundial is orienred to be parallel to the equator. When the sun rises from the east, the shadow is reflected onto the west. When the sun is due south and its highest, it is noon. When the sun sets to the west, the sun casts its shadow onto the east. Thus was the notion of 'clockwise' created. As this development occurred in the northern hemisphere, the hands of the mechanical clocks first built in the northern hemisphere are thought to have moved clockwise. The markers are engraved on both sides of the disc, as the hight of the sun changes across the seasons. The front surface tells time from spring to autumn, while the reverse side indicates time from autumn to spring.

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