Angbuilgu sundial that recently returned home from the United States. (Cultural Heritage Administration )
A cauldron-shaped sundial made during the 1392-1910 Joseon Dynasty has returned home from the United States, South Korea's state heritage foundation said Tuesday.
The Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation said it bought the sundial, one of the Angbuilgu public clocks, at a US auction in June and brought it back to South Korea two months later.
Anbuilgu was first invented during the reign of King Sejong in the 15th century in order to tell the 24 solar seasonal terms as well as the hours of the day, using lines and curves to indicate the time with a long thin rod in the middle.
It was installed at busy downtown points so that more people could check the time easily.
The foundation said the recently returned hemispherical clock, measuring 24.1 centimeters in width and 11.7 cm in height, is presumed to have been manufactured in the 18-19th century.
It is made of a copper alloy, elaborately decorated with refined silver inlay and dragon- and turtle-shaped legs.
There are seven Angbuilgu sundials in South Korea, while three are known to be in foreign countries like Japan.
"Angbuilgu sundials were the first public chronographs produced in Joseon, dating from the reign of King Sejong through the late Joseon period," the foundation said in a release.
"The return of the Angbuilgu sundial is indeed meaningful as it has finally been returned to its home country and can again give the correct time," it noted.
The foundation said this Angbuilgu sundial will be displayed to the public starting from Wednesday to Dec. 20 at the National Palace Museum of Korea. (Yonhap)