Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Moment in Time

A color sun dial displays on the facade of the Bavarian National Museum on Prinzregentenstrasse, one of the four royal roads in Munich. I am told that the museum holds one of the most important and cultural history collections in Europe, although I have not been through to confirm. The museum was founded by king Mazimillian in 1855. It houses a large collection of European artifacts from the Middle Ages until early 20th century. From the beginning the collection has been divided into two main groups: the art historical collection and the folklore collection. With a specific focus on Bavaria, the museum houses art from the middle ages to the Jugendstil or art Neouveau period. This is one of many sun dials that you will find throughout Munich. Use of Sundials stretches back to antiquity in Europe, with the main purpose initially to show the times of prayer. This was critical, as the hours were only measured at first during hours of daylight (which changed during the course of the year). Around the 14th century, time was measured using equal hour length and whether light or dark. Southern Germany and Austria is where you will find many of the early versions of sun dials.

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