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Huge Chinese Qing Dynasty Bronze Bell - Translated

China, ca. 1644-1912 CE. Translated, the inscribed characters indicate that this bell was cast in January of 1901 in the city of Xi Ning in the Qing Hai province. Offered in the name of Buddha (Guan Yin), a believer named "Wang Chao Sheng" donated this bell, although it is unknown as to whom or where it was donated. This example of a "bianzhong," or Buddhist bell or Chinese court bell, features a rounded & folded base, raised pattern lines running throughout, and a large ornate handle fashioned in the shape of a twin-headed dragon. The handle of the bell also contains horseshoe-shaped carvings to imitate scales as well as raised triangular areas along the median emulating spines running the course of the dragon's back. Four circular lotus panels used for striking the bell are positioned equidistant from each other around the circumference of the lower half. Such bells were not intended to have striking hammers on the inside as court officials or religious patrons would often strike the bell with padded mallets themselves. One of the larger examples we've ever seen! Size: 16" L x 16" W x x27.5" H (40.64 cm x 40.64 cm x 69.85 cm).

Condition: Surface wear and minor abrasions commensurate with age, small fissure to one side of handle just behind dragon head, some fading to raised detailing, light oxidation within some handle scales, and some fading to inscribed text. Nice earthen deposits as well as green and brown patina throughout.

Provenance: private D. Smith collection, Alpine, California, USA

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