Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Astronomical Clock

Mausi was browsing through some photographs tonight which she had taken during this year. One of her favourites is the Astronomical Clock of the Marienkirche in Lübeck. Astronomical clocks were quite en vogue from the 15th to the 18th century.

The one is Lübeck was built between 1561 and 1566 and is of impressive size. Like so many other treasures it was destroyed during WW II in 1942 but rebuilt by the clockmaker in the Paul Behrendt in the 1960's. Mausi knows this clock ever since she was a small child and still thinks it was one of the most intriguing mechanical gimmicks she has ever seen.

These clocks were not only built to give the time and such useful things as phases of moon and sun but also to make people feel small and reflect about their life. While being rebuilt the Lübeck clock was slightly modified. The upper half now shows the 12 astrological, the lower half the 13 astronomical signs of the zodiac. The old clock had only shown the astrological signs.

The four Apostles in the lower half and the inscription in the middle show the close relation to the ecclesiastical year. The inscription reads:

Whenver you hear the bell toll, do not forget to praise and to thank your God who reigns over all stars.
(So oft du die klingende Glocke hörst, vergiss nicht, deinen Gott der über alle Gestirne herrscht zu loben und ihm zu danken.)

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