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Tiffany & Co. Mixed Metal "Night and Day" Carriage Clock

This Tiffany & Co Carriage Clock is decorated with bats and roosters to represent night and day respectively. The background is embellished with a Martelé (hammered) texture while the top of the clock depicts the Unmon (Japanese cloud) motif. Tiffany & Co’s silver in the 1880s was primarily inspired by the Japonisme and Art Nouveau movements. The simplification of the bats’ features shows evident Japanese influence, namely by the work of Katsushika Hokusai. His book Denshin Kaishu (transmitting the spirit, revealing the form of things) was a reference book of flowers, landscapes, and animal designs for designers to copy. The rounding of the eyelids and ears appeals to the Japanese sense of kawaii (cuteness.)

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: T-20828
Artist: Tiffany & Co.
Country: United States
Circa: 1880
Dimensions: 5.25" height, 4" width
Materials: Sterling Silver and Mixed Metal
Signed: Tiffany & Co. New York (on Clockface)

Japan though, likely as a result of Chinese influence, saw the bat as a symbol of good luck. The Chinese character for happiness has the same sound as the character for bat, so the two became associated with each other and that association carried over to Japan. In ancient Japanese myth, the rooster was said to have tempted the sun goddess, Amaterasu, out of her cavern, bringing light back into the sky after a period of ultimate darkness. In recognition of the rooster's bravery during this time of despair, this Japanese bird is symbolic of courage throughout Japan.