Daidokei Lantern Clock, Meiji Period, late 19th century

Daidokei 1

Title: Dai-dokei lantern clock on four-legged stand with traditional Edo Period strike sequence.
Date: Meiji period (late 19th century)
Total height: 88 cm
Square top: (H) 20 cm (L/W) 11 cm
Square wooden base: (L) 21 cm

Original Japanese antique.

A Japanese clock (wadokei) is a mechanical clock that has been made to tell traditional Japanese time, a system in which daytime and nighttime are always divided into six periods whose lengths consequently change with the season. The typical clock had six numbered hours from nine to four, which counted backwards from noon until midnight. The hour numbers one, two and three were not used in Japan for religious reasons, because these numbers of strokes were used by Buddhists to call to prayer. The count ran backwards because the earliest Japanese artificial timekeepers used the burning of incense to count down the time. Dawn and dusk were therefore both marked as the sixth hour in the Japanese timekeeping system.

Dai-dokei (big clocks) have the clock movement placed on open four-legged stands so that they were at eye level for people seated on the tatami floor mats. They were located in the tokonoma (alcove) of the Japanese living room. Stands were ornate and decorative. Large versions of the Dai-dokei were also made for use mainly in public places such as castles, corridors and entrance halls.

Brass front, side and rear panels engraved with chrysanthemum design. The clock sits on a carved wooden stand. With traditional Edo Period strike sequence. Fixed dial with gold plated chapter ring of Japanese characters and numbers. Rotating brass hand. Lead weight.

More Information
Condition ReportFully functioning movement. The item is well-worn, with external areas showing aged metal and wood patina.
SubjectFlowers & Botanical
Product DateMeiji Period