The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 22, 2024

Bell (Lai Zhong)

Bell (Lai Zhong)

c. 800–700 BCE
Overall: 70.3 x 37 x 26.6 cm (27 11/16 x 14 9/16 x 10 1/2 in.)

Did You Know?

The technical sophistication of the unusual lens-shaped cavity allowed the bell to produce two different tones.

Description

In ancient China, music and ritual had political significance and were linked inseparably to the power of states. During the Zhou dynasty, bronze bells were made in sets of eight to sixty bells. This bell is the second largest from a set of eight.

This bell bears an inscription of 118 characters about its owner, Lai, and why it was cast. Lai's ancestors dutifully served the Western Zhou royal court, and he was granted a hereditary position by the "Son of Heaven" (the ruler). To express filial piety, Lai commissioned a set of bells as an offering to his father, Gongshu, in the hope that they would be forever treasured by future generations. This important inscription also provides an early example of Chinese calligraphy highlighting the purely abstract lines and construction of characters.
  • ?-1989
    (Robert H. Ellsworth, Ltd., New York, NY, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    1989-
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Liu Huaijun. "Meixian chutu yipi Xi Zhou jiaocang qingtong yueqi (A group of Western Zhou bronze musical instruments buried in a pit and excavated at Meixian)." Wen bo 文博, vol. 17, no. 2 (1987): 17-25.
    The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1991. Reproduced: p. 7 archive.org
    Turner, Evan H., et al. “Notable Acquisitions.” The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, vol. 78, no. 3, 1991, pp. 63–147. Reproduced: p. 125 www.jstor.org
    Wilson, J. Keith, and Anne E. Wardwell. "New Objects/New Insights: Cleveland's Recent Chinese Acquisitions." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 81, no. 8 (1994): 270-347. Reproduced: p. 288; Mentioned: p. 287-291, 346 www.jstor.org
    Cunningham, Michael R., Stanislaw J. Czuma, Anne E. Wardwell, and J. Keith Wilson. Masterworks of Asian Art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1998. Reproduced: pp. 26-27
    Liu Huaijun. "Shaanxi Meixian chutu jiaocang qingtong qi bitan (Discussion on the bronzes buried in a pit at Meixian, Shaanxi province). Wen wu 文物, no. 6 (2003): 49-50.
    Cleveland Museum of Art. The CMA Companion: A Guide to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2014. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 93
  • Asian Autumn: New Objects/New Insights: Cleveland's Recent Chinese Acquisitions. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 18-December 31, 1994).
    Notable Acquisitions. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (June 7-September 15, 1991).
  • {{cite web|title=Bell (Lai Zhong)|url=false|author=|year=c. 800–700 BCE|access-date=22 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

Source URL:

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1989.3