Early 19th Century Rare Japanese Lantern Clock

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Early 19th Century Rare Japanese Lantern Clock
Inv. #: g151

Obata Eisuke, 1804.


A very rare c.1804 Japanese striking lantern clock or Yagura-Dokei. It is housed in a glazed black lacquer case decorated with floral scrolls in Aogai shell work and silver six-pedal flower medallions. It could either be hung or supported by the original matching stand.


The black lacquer case is elaborately decorated with scrolling foliage in Aogai shell work and silver six-pedal flower medallions. It has a decorative bracket with a removable glazed hood, a lift out front door and fabric backed ormolu frets. It can be either hung on the wall or supported by the original matching stand. The back of the wall bracket has two old paper labels supporting the provenance.


The front plate is affixed to the movement by a turned brass knob and is elaborately decorated with raised chrysanthemum flowers. In the center is the rotating dial with a turned outside rim, sunken center, adjustable silvered engraved markers for the temporal ‘hours’, plain silver markers for the ‘half-hour’ marks and has an elaborate steel cut pointer that indicates the time. Below are the two apertures for the sexagenarian calendar.


The weight driven time and strike movement has finely turned and cut brass spoked wheelwork and brass spiked going wheels, steel arbors and pinions, a ‘japanese striking’ count wheel, a verge escapement, a brass balance wheel with friction set weights and a steel hammer that strikes by torsion on a bell mounted above. The two side doors are hinged from the back, are elaborately decorated with raised chrysanthemum flowers and are secured to the front plate by brass hooks. The back plate is signed and dated in Japanese characters and includes Obata Eisuke, 1804.


This piece is rare not only for the exceptional quality, but also for the form, provenance and construction.

This is the only example we have found that has a wall bracket incorporated with a stand and is quite possibly unique.

Although the vast majority of pieces have weights hung by friction this example has spikes incorporated into the going wheels.

The labels on the back indicate it was one of the pieces donated to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1921 by William Sturgis Bigelow. Dr. Bigelow was a highly regarded surgeon and collector who spent time in Japan in the very late 19th century. He was a voracious collector and his donations were the foundation of their Japanese collection. This piece was deaccessed in 2006 through public auction and has been in a private collection until now.

Size: Clock - 7.5 in.
Wall Case - 10 in.
Overall - 31 in.
Retail Price: sold

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Tel: 631-757-9521
Email: info@sundialfarm.com

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