Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Are these Roman ancient bronze bells?

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    • #11955
      ortizd
      Participant

      I acquired these bells through my father who was unable to provide me with any history on them. I think they are made of bronze. I don’t know if they are considered a windchime or a bell. The bell is made up of 5 bells of graduated sizes. All 5 bells have fine lines etched into them but each bell has different symbols. The second largest bell has two crowns on it. Measurements- All 5 are 24″ Long, the largest- 10″L and base is 7″,2nd-8″x5″, 3rd-6″x5″, 4th-5 1/2″x4 1/2″, 5th-5×4″. Could you please tell me if these are roman ancient bronze bells and if not, could you please tell me what they are? Thank you for your help.





    • #16751
      ortizd
      Participant

      I located a book of collectibles that had a section on bells and it had a article by an past american bell association president, who owns a bell similiar to my bell. The bell turns out to be a camel chime with graduated cups, once worn by camels in Persia. The camel chime in the collectors book, has a peacock inscribed in it. Once I found this information I located an article on Bell Talk about camels coming to Texas. It appears that there have been reproductions but from what I can tell my bell seems older and has a different appearance than the reproductions. I am still attempting to find the age of my camel chime and I am curious why my camel chime has crowns. If anyone knows alot about camel chimes, I want to determine if I have an actual camel chime and not a reproduction and it approximate year. Also, I am curious about the crowns. I am finding this fasinating so any historical information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • #16752
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      Good for you for continuing to research these lovely bells! As you have found out by reading the article in the ABA’s online library, the U.S. Army camel bells do not resemble your string of bells at all. That’s probably because the Army bells were made in the U.S.A.

      I don’t know anything specific about your bells. I am wondering what makes you think these might be ancient Roman bells? If you disregard the patina that makes them look old, how is the condition of these bells? In the pictures, the bottom edges of the bells look pretty smooth and shiny. If they were ancient, I would think they would have chips and dings on the edges from wear and corrosion over the years. Now, another thing to look for – does each bell have a ridge that has been worn into it from having been rubbed by the bottom of the bell above it? That’s another sign of age and/or use.

      How long ago did your father give the bells to you? Does (did) he remember where and when he got them?

      One of the things we bell collectors learn in our research is that sometimes bells are relatively new but were made to look old. Often, bells were made for the tourist trade or import market. Another thing we learn is that it is not uncommon for a seller to have no idea what the bell is and makes up a “likely” story about it to entice the buyer.

      I am hoping that someone else, who has more knowledge than I about this type of bell, will give you some help. Good luck!

      Carolyn

    • #16753
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      I just found a little more information about camel bells that may be of interest to you. This is in the January 1979 issue of The Bell Tower, the American Bell Association’s official publication, in an article about Animal Bells of the World.

      Majestic camel caravans sweep across Iranian deserts to the rhythm of huge bells. The large cast brass bell has a small bell as clapper… sometimes five or six. Known as lead camel bells and used to keep the caravan of thousands together after dust storms; the camels love their bells.

      Carolyn

    • #16754
      ortizd
      Participant

      Thank you Carolyn for your information. I am going to order the article from The Bell Tower and the other article on animal bells. I am wondering if Rebecca Mayer wrote the articles because she wrote the article in the book I have. In article she mentioms her animal bells are among her favorites. Your questions about determining the bells age by the markings on the bell make sense. Each bell has a thick raised band near the top. Before you asked those questions I thought they were for decoration but now I realize they were designed that way because the bells would rub and overtime form the ridge you refer to. Also, my bells have small holes and scratches were the rubbing has occurred.
      I thought they were ancient roman bronze bells because in my search I saw a bell on ebay that claimed to be certified as roman ancient bronze. It has similarities to my bells.

    • #16755
      hjlong3
      Participant

      These are Persian Camel Bells. The Peacock was a symbol of Iran prior to the Islamic Revolution. I have a similar string. I also have a newer set that has the inscription “Iran” on the large bell with the peacock on the opposite side.
      The story of these bells is that each time a female camel has another offspring a smaller bell will be added as a clapper. Your set would indicate the birth of 4-5 offspring.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #16756
      ortizd
      Participant

      Thank you, Dr. Long. I did a little more research on my bells after you sent a reply because most of the persian camel bells have animals inscribed in them but mine has crowns. This symbol appears to be part of the National Emblem for Persia during the Achaemenid Empire. I think there are small lines over the crown like sun rays but unless I cleaned that bell I will not be certain. I appreciate all your help.

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