Paris, Place de la Concorde, sundial

In 1913 and 1939, the Luxor Obelisk on the Place de la Concorde was to take over the part of the hand in the center of the world’s largest sundial hadn’t it been for the outbreak of the war. It was not before 1999 that this plan was realized. Ever since 12 lines radiate from the socle of the ancient stone pillar. At their far ends, roman numbers from VII to XVIII keep sunny times. A bronce plaque on the line leading to the XII displays “Au levant de Thèbes surgit à Paris le nord.” “My Thebes East is my Paris North.” Upon the rising of the obelisk, the historical alignment had been neglected because the authorities in charge were all too busy hiding four stone baboons which had come to Paris on the included part of the original socle. The primates are standing in a scandalously upright position, showing every detail of their accurately sculptured front to the viewer and had to be transported to the Louvre immediately and forever.

In their honorable and puritanic strive, the observance of cardinal points was the officials’ least concern. Therefore the obelisk’s east side is facing north. The four baboons haven’t seen the light of day again, yet still adore the sun from their secluded new home in the Louvre’s Department of Egyptian Antiquities (room 11, D 31).


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