Soroban, or Japanese Abacus

Description
This instrument sits in a wooden box painted black around the edge. It has a wooden cross piece painted white. Twenty-one parallel bamboo rods rods pass through the cross piece. Each has one bead above the cross piece and five below.
The beads are similar in shape to those on other Japanese abaci. Every column but the middle one is labeled on the cross piece with a Japanese character. The ten beads to the left of the center may represent units of volume, those to the right are units of currency.
A stamp attached to the box below the beads that shows a Japanese diety known as Daikoku sama operating an abacus. Characters printed on the stamp refer to a trademark and to Osaka. A sticker attached to the back has characters on it that may represent a price in a vendor's code. The object is marked on the back in pen “4504.” It is recorded as found in museum storage in 1959.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
abacus
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
bamboo (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1.8 cm x 35.6 cm x 8 cm; 23/32 in x 14 1/32 in x 3 5/32 in
ID Number
MA*316866
catalog number
316866
accession number
228691
subject
Asian
Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Abacus
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Abacus
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Approved comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about your own artifacts or tell you how much they are worth.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.