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92/156 Rain gauge, cast iron, designed by Jang Yeong-sil 1442, made in Korea, 1990. Click to enlarge.

A Korean rain gauge

In 1442, some 200 years before data on rainfall was being kept in Europe, rain gauges of a design similar to this one were distributed to every province in Korea. The rain gauges were all of a uniform size adopted a standard unit of measurement. This enabled the emperor to keep accurate records whose data could then be used to improve agricultural technology in Korea.

These early rain gauges were designed by Jang Yeong-sil whose patron was King Sejong the Great who reigned the Choson Dynasty …


Object No.


Object Statement

Rain gauge, cast iron, designed by Jang Yeong-sil 1442, made in Korea, 1990

Physical Description

Rain gauge, cast iron, designed by Jang Yeong-sil 1442, made in Korea, 1990

A rain gauge consisting of three cylindrical sections which fit together vertically to form a tank like vessel that is open at the top to allow rain water to be collected for measurement. The bottom section of the rain gauge has a flat base while the upper two sections are open at each end. Korean text has been engraved on the outside of the central portion of the rain gauge.



322 mm


156 mm





The rain gauge is a facsimile of one dating from 1442. Although rain gauges had been produced in Korea prior to this date, it was not until 1442 that the design was standardised. This rain gauge was made in Korea in 1990, a facsimile of one made in 1442. This date is recorded in the "Sejong Sillok" (Veritable Records) of the reign of King Sejong.



The standardisation of the rain gauge design in 1442 allowed it to be used as a basis for assessing land tax.


Credit Line

Gift of the Korean Office of Cultural Properties, 1992

Acquisition Date

17 February 1992

Cite this Object


A Korean rain gauge 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 May 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=A Korean rain gauge |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 May 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}