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Inventory no. 46586 - Former Display Label

Chinese FIRE CLOCK

19th century

An elongated boat of lacquered wood in the form of a dragon is lined with metal and carries metal bars crossways. The bars support a stick of smouldering material which burns slowly, thus cutting threads hanging at intervals over the side of the boat. Each thread has a pair of bronze balls attached, and when the fire cuts the threads the balls fall onto a metal sounding-board. In this way the passage of the hours is marked. The dragon boat shown here would once have stood on an arc over the sounding box mounted on a special table. William Brandes, Alte Japanische Urhen (Brunswick, 1976), p. 33.

[76-14]

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