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Memorial Union Memorial Union: The Transcendent Tower

Signs, Symbols, and Seals: The Sculpture of Memorial Tower

Pace and Progress

The Latin inscription in sapientia ambulate tempus redimentes, meaning "Walk in Wisdom, Redeeming the Time,” surrounds Memorial Tower’s lavender-faced clock, whose original mechanisms are based on those of Big Ben in London, England. Below the clock is a band of winding ribbon, but this was not the architects’ original design. According to this drawing, the architects planned to place a crouched, winged figure in the bottom right corner. It is not known why they deviated from their original design and whether a similar figure was meant for the opposite corner. Clutching a bone in its talons, an owl with outstretched wings is located below the clock. In antiquity, owls were pagan symbols associated with Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and her patron city Athens. Some Native American cultures believe owls carry the souls of the deceased. The bone, a motif for the concept of memento mori ("remember your mortality”), symbolizes the inevitability of death.

ClockfaceGargoyle

 

Clockface Architectural Drawing showing crouched, winged figure (Drawing Courtesy of MU Building and Infrastructure Archives)

Memorial Union Exhibition

Exhibition Home

History of Memorial Tower

Making the Memorial

In Memoriam

Signs, Symbols, and Seals: The Sculpture of Memorial Tower

Figured in Stone: The Arcade Sculptures of Memorial Tower

Tradition: Tipping the Cap

 

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