Cast bronze with incised inscription
Diameter: 14 cm (5 1/2 in.); Overall: 22.6 cm (8 7/8 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1992.118
The inscription informs us that this miniature indoor bell was produced in 1226.
This miniature bell was once used as part of Buddhist indoor rituals. Likely suspended in a Buddhist temple, it features a cast dragon and a vertical tube to amplify the sound on top, and is decorated with Buddhist figures seated on lotuses. The echoing sound of the bell was thought to help Buddhist believers understand the significance of transience and impermanence; the sound instantly fades away as soon as one hears it. This sensory experience creates a striking conceptual parallel with Buddhist teachings, including the idea that all things and beings exist merely in our perception or imagination. An inscription indicates it was cast in the year of the dragon and took three years to make.
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