Chinese Bronze Bell Video – BBC Radio 4
March 21, 2014 at 12:56 am #12380Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
This educational video runs for 14 minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=b0AFhboNw5U
“This Chinese bronze bell from the collection of the British Museum is also known as a bo. It is decorated with dragons swallowing geese and has a handle in the shape of two dragons. This bo would have been part of a set of bells of different sizes each playing different notes. It is played with a hammer and plays two different notes depending on where it is struck.
It was made at the beginning of the Warring States period – a time of political fragmentation and moral crisis in China. It was in this turmoil that the Chinese political philosopher Confucius developed his philosophy. Confucius had one overwhelming message: if we are to achieve a state of orderliness and peace, we need to return to traditional values of virtue. Confucius was also a keen musician and saw in music the harmony he wanted to achieve in society.
The most famous Chinese bell set in the world was found in the tomb of the Marquis of Yi from one of the warring states of China (475-221 BC) called Zeng. The Marquis obviously loved music and was buried with many musical instruments including zithers (a stringed instrument), drums, flutes, pan pipes and chimes. The bell set consists of 65 tuned bells and covers a range of five octaves. They weigh a total of around 4,521kg and are inscribed with over 3,700 Chinese characters telling us (amongst other things) the two tones each bell can play. The bells can still be played and were used by the contemporary composer Tan Dun when he was asked to compose music to commemorate the transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997.”
Quotation by Carol Michaelson, Curator, British Museum
Copyright for the soundtrack: BBC RADIO 4
The complete radio series “A History of the World in a 100 objects” was written and presented by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum.
The bell described here was not the bell used in the movie KUNG FU PANDA, but since the philosophy of Confucius is an important intellectual source for the art of Kung Fu, and thus consequently for the ideas promoted in KUNG FU PANDA, fans of this film could learn here some basics about this philosophic school of thought.
All pictures used in this visualisation were found in the internet by Google. These sources should be in the public domain, so far I know.
It is generally established that the beautiful sound of bells is a symbol for peace and freedom. Thus, this visualisation of a BBC Radio 4 programme is dedicated to the peaceful freedom of speech everywhere on Earth, and consequently, to the Chinese winner of the Nobel Peace Price MMX.”
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