Majestic-looking and brilliantly designed, just a few terms that describe the elephant-shaped water clock topped by a towering canopy adorned with human and animal figures. Situated in the Ibn Battuta Mall of Dubai, the clock was built following the designs of the original model from the XIII Century and is an homage to its creator, Al-Jazari. Born in Upper Mesopotamia, Al Jazari was a man of many talents - mechanical engineer, artisan, artist and inventor. He was also the author of the Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, in which he described 50 machines, illustrated with colour drawings, including one of this very clock design. The whole thing is based on a water tank within the body of the elephant into which a perforated basin slowly submerges, setting off a series of reactions - a dragon swallowing a sphere, a human figure raising their right or left hand, depending on whether it is half-past the hour or the hour exactly, the elephant driver striking a drum and the phoenix on the roof of the tower calling out, as the dragon returns to its original position and the whole system resets again. It is a brilliant design, it is fascinating to observe, and, furthermore, it not only represents an important achievement in mechanical engineering but, thanks to the various symbols belonging to various cultures, is also a fascinating historical example of multiculturalism.
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