This bronze temple bell, which is 155cm tall, was made in China in 1438 during the Ming dynasty. Chinese inscriptions cast on the bell read 'Cast on an auspicious day of the second month in the third year of Emperor Zhengtong's reign of the Ming dynasty'. There are also four additional sections of inscriptions, from an ancient version of a Buddhist sutra, which explains that the most essential emotion of Buddhists should be patriotic.
"Huang Tu Yong Gu" (The territory of the emperor will remain stable forever),
"Di Dao Xia Chang" (The ideals of the ruler (emperor) will be lasting and flourishing),
"Fa Lun Chang Zhuan" (The wheel of transmigration turns unceasingly),
"Fo Ri Zeng Hui" (The shine of Buddha will be increasingly brilliant).
In China, temple bells are used to announce the time of events during the course of the day. The sound of the bell is also believed to have been heard by the spiritual world. According to Buddhist tradition, the sound of the bell can gladden the heart of immortals, stop ghosts from their evil-doings and break open the gates of hell to bring relief to the suffering and the distressed there. Bells were suspended within covered towers and rung using a striking log attached horizontally to the temple superstructure with ropes. This bell emits a lingering solemn and melodious sound.
Min-Jung Kim, Curator, 2015