DimensionsWork : 19 1/2 in. high (49.53 cm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
LabelThis bell was likely made for a Chinese Buddhist temple in the late Ming or early Qing dynasty. The bell is not rung with an interior clapper like most Western church bells, but is instead rung by striking it near the rim with a padded wooden mallet. Bells were traditionally used in Buddhist monasteries to call the monks to prayer and to meals as well as to celebrate religious holidays and festivals.
Like most Chinese bronze objects of this period, the bell was almost certainly cast using the lost-wax technique. First, a model of the bell was made using softened wax. The wax was allowed to harden and then packed in clay. When the clay was fired in a kiln, the wax melted and the clay was transformed into a ceramic mold with a hollow bell-shaped interior. After the mold was filled with molten bronze and allowed to cool, the ceramic shell was broken away and the finished bell was revealed.