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Look Inside The Trail of Time

The Trail of Time
Time Measurement with Incense in East Asia


  • Date Published: November 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521021630

£ 25.99

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About the Authors
  • This book is a scholarly study of a virtually unknown aspect of the history of horology (timekeeping), compiled from Chinese and Japanese historical and literary records, some of which are translated and published here for the first time. Incense timekeepers played an important role in early Chinese social and technological history, in addition to their use for time measurement. They were used in temples for religious rites, in agricultural regions for regulating water for irrigation, in palaces and government offices, and in the studies of scholars. A fascinating compendium of knowledge about a neglected aspect of Oriental culture, this book will appeal not only to historians of China and Japan, but to the growing number of collectors and museum curators who are interested in incense clocks.

    • Studies a virtually unknown aspect of horology (timekeeping)
    • Draws on some previously unpublished Chinese and Japanese records
    • Includes a catalogue of incense clocks which have appeared in sales rooms and museums
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This handsome volume, the result of a lifetime's study by a noted scholar, will be treasured not only by horologists and other historians of science but also by lovers of East Asian art and poetry.' The Antiquarian Horological Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521021630
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 189 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.667kg
    • contains: 143 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Part I. Time Measurement and Incense in East Asia:
    1. Early East Asian time measurement
    2. Incense and the populace
    3. Incense in religious rites
    4. Incense for time measurement
    Part II. The Incense Seal in China:
    5. The incense seal of Avalokitésvara
    6. In Chinese Buddhist rites
    7. In Chinese civil life
    8. In Chinese social life
    9. In Chinese and foreign writings
    Part III. The Incense Seal in Japan:
    10. Japanese kobandokei
    11. In Japanese Buddhist rites
    12. In Japanese civil life
    13. The fire in the smoke

  • Author

    Silvio A. Bedini, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC

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