Characters of Far Eastern chronology, c 1690.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving of the characters of the twelve celestial signs and the ten elements which combine to form a sixty-year cycle, used as a system of chronology in the Far East. From 'The History of Japan' (1727) by Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716). Kaempfer was a German physician working at the Dutch trading post in Japan from 1690-1692, where he asembled a large collection. On returning to Europe he wrote 'The History of Japan', which records many aspects of the country in the Genroku period (1688-1704).