An Inch of Time, an Inch of Truth

Ruoxi ZhaoMay 23, 2022Time and Space

In Chinese culture, sundials are used to record the passage of time. A sundial is an instrument for observing the time based on the sun's shadow. It is mainly used to specify the hour or number of the hour according to the position of the sun's shadow. It was a commonly used timekeeping instrument in ancient China.

The sundial records the passage of time with shadows. Throughout the day, the shadows cast by objects struck by the sun constantly change. The length of the shadow marks the passage of time; the shadow is the longest in the morning, gets shorter as time goes on, and gets longer again after noon. The direction of the shadow also marks the passage of time, with morning shadows in the west, noon shadows in the north, and evening shadows in the east (in the northern hemisphere).

With the change of science and technology, stone sundials have become available for more and more people and places to use and build. They are often placed on campuses or in park squares, mainly to decorate the landscape and environment. Nowadays, stone sundials are put on display to honor and worship the wisdom of our predecessors. The purpose of the sundial on campus is to teach students that time is life, to grasp time, to not waste time, and that actions speak louder than words. Sundials always remind students to cherish the time; an inch of time, an inch of gold truth.

Ancient Chinese people created the sundial with their wisdom. Let nature be the medium to record the passage of time. Nature gives value and meaning to time and can record it as well.