The Ridhwan clock
The Ridhwan water clock was a fantastic contrivance. Built around 1200 AD in Babylon, it kept accurate time and displayed time in several different ways, both digital and analog.
It was destroyed long before photographs, and Arabs weren't much for painting, so the only remnant is one schematic diagram and a couple of conflicting descriptions.
Using the descriptions more than the diagram, I've improvised a semi-modern version.
The clock was supposedly housed in a small dome inside a temple:
Here's a closeup. I haven't fully finished or animated it yet, but feel the need to output some structured beauty as a defense against the battering chaotic tyranny. (See beautyduty.)
The clock is set to current time, 2:45 PM. The pointer on top shows sun position between sunrise and sunset. The set of holes around the sun pointer show the hours at night. An oil lamp hanging from a pointer in parallel with the sun pointer shines through each hole as the night progresses. I'm showing it illuminated here, though it would have been lit only at night.
Hour doors for 1 and 2 have opened digitally. The domes beneath each door rise to show the progress within each hour analogly. The hour from noon to 1 is up and done, the hour from 1 to 2 is up and done, and the hour from 2 to 3 is about 3/4 done.
The crescent moon in front represents minutes in a more refined way, sliding from left to right, and apparently had a scale in front of it on the tank.
On each hour the two falcons grasped by fish receive a lead ball from the pipe above their heads, and both falcons pivot downward to drop the ball against the bell, so every hour is chimed.
= = = = =
Now I've got the animation working. Here's a speeded-up run from midnight to 8AM.
You can see the domes rising to kick the hours open; the birds and balls and bells on the hour; and the sun pointer starting to move after sunrise.
Thanks to Ridhwan al-Saati (Ridhwan the Clock Guy) for making this magnificent machine 800 years ago, and thanks to the scholars who described and diagrammed it at some later time. Structured beauty is an Islamic specialty, and structured beauty is what we need right now.
Labels: defensible times, From rights to duties, Make or break, Natural law = Sharia law