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Scaphe dial


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Object ID AST0527
Description Scaphe dial. This dial has a hinged lid and contains a compass. The outer case is silver with brass rims and a brass push-button clasp. The outside is chased with decorative patterns and a dragon is set in relief on the underside. There is a small silver carrying loop on the top. The compass is set into the lid of the instrument. It has a blacked ring around it, in which are engraved 12 characters (these are the 12 Chinese characters for the hours). The compass itself is silver and has four characters marking the cardinal points. The blued needle is rusty and surmounted by a brass pivot. The glass plate is broken at one edge and held in place by a brass ring. The dial itself is of silvered brass and has a central depression surrounded by 12 Chinese hour characters (marking the directions, not the hours). The hour-lines are engraved in the bowl of the dial and are marked by five Japanese characters. A small vertical brass pin gnomon is set in the centre of the dial. The dial is marked, as normal for a Japanese instrument, with the unequal double hours of the Japanese time system. There are two dials of this type in the MHS, Oxford (new inventory nos 40627 and 48528), the latter being slightly larger than the present instrument. For more information regarding this dial please refer to the OUP & NMM catalogue, 'Sundials at Greenwich'.
Date made 18th century

Artist/Maker Unknown
Place made Japan
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Materials brass; silver; glass
Measurements Overall: 30 x 42 mm
  • Scaphe dial (AST0527)
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