Japanese Tellurian

This is a simple instrument on a round wooden base. A horizontal arm connects a lamp representing the Sun with the Earth and its Moon. The Japanese text on the Earth has been translated as: “Made Dec. 1875 / Government Permitted / Translated by Ida / Issued by Tokyo / Satyo, Ltd. / Original from England Michel.”
This astronomical device represents the intense effort to emulate western educational practices that Japanese leaders mounted following the Meiji restoration of 1868. It was probably one of the many objects that the Japanese Empire Department of Education sent to Philadelphia for the Centennial Exhibition of 1876. It then went to the U.S. Bureau of Education, and that organization transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1910.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1876
Satyo, Ltd.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 13 in x 6 in; 33.02 cm x 15.24 cm
place made
Nihon: Kanto, Tōkyō
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bureau of Education, Department of the Interior

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