Time in Korea

  • Nam Moon‐Hyon
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9337
Timekeeping was both a royal duty and a royal prerogative in Korea since the period of the Three Kingdoms (三國時代, ca. 37 BCE to 668 AD) of Silla, Baekje, and Goguryeo. Although sundials and clepsydras (water clocks) were the main timekeepers, there were also fire clocks such as incense sticks at temples. Chinese calendrical systems, instruments for astronomy, and timekeeping systems were introduced to the Korean peninsula in antiquity, while from 554 AD Baekje sent calendrical scientists to Japan to supervise calendar‐ and clock‐making there. Among the achievements of such missions was the water clock of the Japanese emperor Tenji (r. 661–671) which was made in 671. In Gyeongju, the capital of Silla, a royal observatory known as the Cheomseongdae (瞻星臺) was built in 647 and a water clock was constructed at the temple Hwangryongsa in 718; the latter was used to announce time by striking large bells in the bell tower, as was the case also with the bell shown in Fig. 1.
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Nam Moon‐Hyon

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