Chinese day: double hours

The Chinese 24-hour day is divided into 12 equal periods called shih (often referred to in English as “double hours”). Each double hour is given the name of one of the 12 terrestrial branches, extremely ancient (1700 bce?) terms which also form part of the names of days and years. This division of the day was standardized in the calendar reform of 104 bce.

chen hours associated
zi (tzu) 11 pm–1 am rat N
chou 1–3 am ox NNE
yin 3–5 tiger ENE
mao 5–7 rabbit E
chen 7–9 dragon ESE
si (szu) 9–11 snake SSE
wu 11 am–1 pm horse S
wei 1–3 sheep SSW
shen 3–5 monkey WSW
you 5–7 chicken W
xu (hsü) 7–9 dog WNW
hai 9–11 pig NNW

The 24-hour day was also divided into 100 ke. See 100-ke system.

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