This Chinese fire clock in the shape of a dragon is made of black and gilt lacquered wood and gesso. Along the centre containing a burning incense stick which would gradually burn through threads placed successively along the length of the trough. The metal weights on either end of these threads would then fall at regular intervals, dropping onto a metal tray and causing a 'clang' and creating a regular time signal. It was made in the early 19th century and belongs to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Foulkes Collection. This object is made of wood and Metal this piece has and overall of 150 x 695 x 45 mm.
The incense clock is a Chinese timekeeping device that appeared during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The clock’s bodies are effectively specialised censers that hold incense sticks that have been manufactured and calibrated to a known rate of combustion, used to measure minutes, hours or days. Incense clocks were commonly used at homes and temples in dynastic times.
In addition to water, mechanical, and candle clocks, incense clocks were used in Asia and were fashioned in several different forms. Although popularly associated with China, the incense clock is believed by some to have been originated in India, at least in its fundamental form, if not function.
In Chinese medicine doctors would make multiple partial breaks on an incense stick as instructions to the patient such that the patient would take a dose of medication every time the incense has burned to one of these breaks. In Japan, a geisha was paid for the number of senko-dokei (incense clocks) that had been consumed while she was present, a practice which continued until 1924.
In the old days time and timekeepers were essential, life or death instruments for either navigation or astrology or other matters.
Daily life in middle age was measured by prayers but later on in modern age everyday life started been punctuated by the sounds of the churches tower bells that rang every hour and that way everyone in the city and the country side would know what time it was and what they were supposed to be doing. Also beautiful hour-glasses were made since the renaissance age. This objects were very useful pieces of art that even nowadays are being used.
In the 19th century the concept of time management started to gain impulse because of many factors: The advancements in the Industrial Revolution led to a shift from an agrarian economy to an industrial trade-based economy and raised the need to manage time well. Success in the new world order depended on the timely trading of goods.
The development of a postal service, the arrival of the telegraph, and the subsequent spread of railroads all required precise time keeping and raised the importance of time-related values of productivity and speed.
The enlightened views of scholars and scientists such as Isaac Newton began to gain ground.
Politicians also were influenced by this new way of measuring time and viewing it.
Thomas Jefferson installed a clock that had a dial with three hands to indicate hours, minutes, and seconds to schedule indoor household chores. Benjamin Franklin’s famous views on time and management included advice such as “Time is money,” and “Time is the stuff of which life is made."
Inspired by such leaders, society then began to consider timeliness as a sign of maturity, and the wearing of a watch symbolised a child's entry into the time-conscious world of grownups. By the 1830s schools started to enforce punctuality, organising school hours and lessons by the clock, punishing lateness, and awarding certificates for punctuality.
Nowadays the watches are mostly seen as an accessory. A piece of statement. A luxury for most because wherever we go time is everywhere. From the detailed single hand made pieces when most people couldn't afford to the industrialised cheap and very basic versions.
Throughout the day at some point we feel the need to know what time is it, whether is because we have a doctors appointment or because we need to buy something from the supermarket that closes at 5pm. No matter the reason we live by schedules that makes society in several different ways more efficient. Or life more complicated.
Some countries like England are known for being punctual which nowadays it is a rare characteristic but a fundamental one despite the immense importance of it. Even William Shakespeare believed that it was ‘better three hours too soon than a minute too late.’ (1602, p.295).
Timekeeping was a result of a society that has the need of it. We felt the need to have a constant reminder that time exists.
We've became masters of it.
We’ve because slaves of it.
The ways of knowing it is always on evolution, from huge clocks that couldn't be moved to pocket watches to the wrists watches. then the pointers disappeared and with the technology gaining such an important role in our society digital watches were an obvious next step. The last step has became a totally new device - cellphone. We compacted the watches to this multiple task gadget. We keep going back and forth from pocket ‘watches’ to wrists watches to ring watches.
Humans are natural timekeepers. It is believed that time helps organise society.
It is impossible to escape from it. Our body itself is regulated by time. We were told since birth when is night and when is day.
Even if we didn't had clocks we would use the sun and other natural systems as the seasons and the stars to keep time.
What is considered time.
We count the years we live. But how can we measured it ? Look at me how can I say I have lived 19 years 1 month and 26 days 10 hours and 15 minutes?
Why did humans felt the need to create time?
And what is it?
Is time just numbers?
Is time a future, a past or a moment?
Time is an illusion
Did we created time because we die?
Does death pressure us or creates a sort of relief?
Now with the evolution of our society as an urban and industrialised one. We can't afford to lose time. Time is money. Time is work. Time is precious. Time gives us no freedom. Time controls us. time. We are taught to think constantly in our future and what our present may affect it. e forget the present. The moments. Life is that.
Clocks or other time measurements don't stand for itself anymore, they exist among others objects or items like in apps, in papers, on street billboards.
Despite the apparent flexibility, we just like our grandfathers and grandmothers and their ancestors, were ruled by schedules.
We can either love or hate it but we cant avoid it. We are asking to control the time ourselves.
Life move faster nowadays. We count hours when they used to count days. Travelling took months or even years nowadays takes hours. But our time is not universal. It is earth time. If we went to Mars or outside of our planet, time would be measured but light years. So will we have to change our measurement? In the same way china used incense sticks men will had to use the universe time measurement , light year.
Timekeeping plays an important role in a great many practises and technologies. From prayer to astronomy, navigation to communication, timekeeping enables all kinds of things to happen.
This had almost as the function of an alarm. We cant escape from it. We can’t pretend it doesn't exist. We need it in the society we live in anywhere we go. Time chases us. We were born at a certain time and we will die at a certain time as well. Richard Feynman, a Nobel laureate of the twentieth century once said “We choose to examine a phenomenon which is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery.”( 2016 ). He talks about this mystery that is impossible to be explain but as humans we keep looking for answers. While we do this we are missing on the fundamental part which is appreciate everyday that we get to life.
Time is something you can never get back.
And its running out.
Radin, Dean. Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences In A Quantum Reality. New York, Paraview Pocket Books, 2006.
Shakespeare, W. (1602) 'A Room in the Garter Inn.' Act II, Scene II. The Merry Wives of Windsor. England, 295.
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