A Rare Double Foliot Japanese Striking Lantern Clock.
This Japanese lantern is very original and made circa 1780. The double foliot is designed so that one foliot works for daylight hours whilst the other one switches over for night time hours. The reason behind this is the lost art of timekeeping that the Japanese used for many hundreds of years. The Japanese divided day and night, with the day commencing at dusk and finishing at dusk, however they only used six hours for daylight and six hours for night time. Therefore the daylight hours would usually be longer than the night ones, resulting in the second foliot moving more rapidly than the day foliot. The timing was divided into twenty eight cycles in a year with each cycle lasting two weeks. Therefore the timing would change every two weeks. To add to this extraordinary system, the Japanese counted backwards from 9, making 9 our midday and then counting 8,7,6,5,4 with the numbers 3,2 and 1 not being used, so the next number after 4 would be 9.
These clocks had a common term, Daimyo, meaning noble as only the wealthy and monks could afford them. Lantern clocks were called Kake-dokei and Hashira-dokei.