Gilt bronze bell with an overall dragon and cloudbank relief design, rockwork and wave tapering base with medallions
Height: 22 cm (8 11/16 in.); Diameter: 18.1 cm (7 1/8 in.)
Collection of The Ohio State University, Courtesy of the Wexner Center for the Arts. Gift of Bliss M. and Mildred A Wiant 5.2020
This is from a set of 16 bells commissioned by the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736–95).
This rare imperial bell (bianzhong 編鐘) was part of a 16-bell set. It was used in court ceremonies; when offerings were made to temples, or in other festivities. The bells emitted 12 different tones plus an additional 4 tones in a higher pitch depending on the thickness of the bell’s wall and size. Often juxtaposed with a set of jade chimes, these bells were suspended from wooden frames in two rows.
On one side this bell bears the characters gu xian 姑洗, indicating the fifth tone. The other side shows the date when it was made: Qianlong banian zhi 乾隆八年製 “Made in the 8th year of the Qianlong reign,” which is 1743.
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