Измерение времени с помощью благовоний в Восточной Азии

Translated title of the contribution: Time measurement with incense in East Asia

E. E. Voytishek, A. S. Shmakova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spanning across thousands of years of aromatic culture development in the countries of East Asia, incense application has accumulated vast experience in various fields, including calendrical calculations and time measurement. Analysis of artifacts, objects of religious worship and everyday life indicates fragrant substances’ great versatility in terms of their use: in addition to sticks, spirals and cones, devices such as the Hundred Graduations Incense seals, alarm clocks, as well as clocks that measured night time, strictly dependent on the calendar season, were invented. Various types of aromatic clocks could be distinguished by their great functionality, finding application in many areas ‒ navigation, engineering, in court and religious ceremonies, scientists’ work, in monastic and private schools, tea houses, and were the subject of admiration for poets, artists and calligraphers. The study of the ways of using incense in East Asian countries (including for measuring time) is based on the analysis of a variety of sources ‒ written, artistic and ethnographic. Compared to the large number of Chinese and Japanese sources, the cultural heritage of the Korean Peninsula contains significant gaps, which significantly complicates the interpretation of the material. The use of incense burners, aromatic raw materials and various instruments for measuring time is a remarkable phenomenon in the fragrance culture of China, Korea and Japan, testifying to the high adaptability of symbols and images of traditional culture not only to everyday household needs, but also to various achievements of science and technology. This is confirmed at the present time, given the production of new models of aromatic clocks.

Translated title of the contributionTime measurement with incense in East Asia
Original languageRussian
Article number8
Pages (from-to)109-124
Number of pages16
JournalВестник Новосибирского государственного университета. Серия: История, филология
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021




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