c. 800–700 BC
Overall: 70.3 x 37 x 26.6 cm (27 11/16 x 14 9/16 x 10 1/2 in.)
Weight: 52 kg (114.64 lbs.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1989.3
The technical sophistication of the unusual lens-shaped cavity allowed the bell to produce two different tones.
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.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email email@example.com.