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H7752 Temple bell, cast bronze, maker unknown, Tartar City, Peking, China, 1438 (Ming dynasty). Click to enlarge.

Chinese temple bell

Made
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

Summary

Object No.

H7752

Object Statement

Temple bell, cast bronze, maker unknown, Tartar City, Peking, China, 1438 (Ming dynasty)

Physical Description

Large cast bronze bell, domed top, with double stapled handle on top for hanging. The bottom edge is scalloped. The handle is decorated with scrolling forms in heavy relief. The outside of the bell is broken up into panels by lines in relief. Five panels have Chinese characters within a rectangle surrounded by scrolling decoration and mounted on a pedestal shape.

Marks

Four panels of Chinese characters are from an ancient version of Buddhist sutra, which explains that the most essential emotion of the Buddhists should be patriotic.
"Huang Tu Yong Gu"
"Di Dao Xia Chang"
"Fa Lun Chang Zhuan"
"Fo Ri Zeng Hui"
There is also an inscription says 'Cast on an auspicious day of the second month in the third year of Emperor Zhengtong's reign of the Ming Dynasty.'

There are four inscriptions 'NSW' and two water marks inside of the bell. It is possible that the water marks were created during the transportation from China to Australia.

Dimensions

Height

1545 mm

Width

960 mm

Weight

610 kg

Production

Made

Notes

Reference:
http://foxuexinyin.blog.hexun.com/33247666_d.html
http://zhihuatemple.com/Temple/Tourguide/
http://bjmsg.focus.cn/msgview/313/34767149.html
http://www.oldbeijing.net/Article/Class1/Class33/6310.html
http://www.oldbeijing.org/dispbbs.asp?boardid=42&Id=41240&authorid=20127
http://bg.dltour.gov.cn/xg/travel_newsinfo.asp?NewsID=16741

History

Notes

Found by NSW Naval contingent during the Boxer rebellion in 1900. It was half buried in a Buddhist Temple in Tartar City, Peking.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Australian Museum, 1965

Acquisition Date

9 June 1965

Cite this Object

Harvard

Chinese temple bell 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 April 2021, <https://ma.as/249120>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/249120 |title=Chinese temple bell |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 April 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}