Chinese Incense Clock
Chinese incense clock, consists of 3 trays, 2 “maze” stencils, a latticework lid and a leveller, made by Ming Hsin, Chao, China.
This clock measures time by burning powdered incense along a pre-measured path, with each stencil representing a different amount of time. The design of the lid protects the incense from being extinguished by the air. Incense clocks have been present in China for over a millennium, used for recreational, religious and practical purposes. This incense clock features the Chinese “double happiness” character, shuāng xǐ, as part of the latticework. Shuāng xǐ is a character still frequently used in China, associated with love and marriage. The tray at the base of the clock would be used to store accessories for the clock such as a spatula or leveller. The length of incense sticks was standardised and the perfumes which could be incorporated within them enabled the user to keep time simply by using their sense of smell.