Crotal/ Rumbler –what country?
May 7, 2007 at 12:58 am #10580AnonymousInactive
Hello, I am new here and would like any info on where this bell might come from. I was told it was a camel bell, but I have no idea. The wording is in a strange language, I would imagine Asian, any ideas? On the back the initials are M.R. and J.P. does this signify the foundry?
It is pretty dirty as you can see, but I am worried that if I clean it I may lose the lovely patina. If anyone has any ideas how I can clean it without removing the patina I would be grateful.
The bell is ca. 7cm diameter approx. 3inches.
I hope the photos are downloadable
Regards, Maybell (this post moved here –original by MAYBELL)
May 7, 2007 at 4:47 am #13055
Wish I could help with country of origin. It’s not England! I’m not hung up about the cleaning of bells – I decide about each one on its merits. I would NOT clean yours, I think it looks great as it is. If you get no luck here you should see if google can get you a language website to help. Amazing what the internet comes up with. I would have thought it was a bit small for a camel bell. Let us know if you come up with the answers.
May 7, 2007 at 12:26 pm #13056
Hello Peter, thank you for your advice re: to clean or not to clean. I will take it and leave my bell as it is.
I had already googled to try and find out what language it is, I think it may be an Indian language but have no idea which. However, I had another google and found a site called omniglot.com which has a forum and a puzzle page with similar queries as to various scripts on all sorts of objects. I have written to the site author and have sent the link to the photo of my script. If I hear anything I will post it on here.
Perhaps some of the members on here may be able to help with the script queries on that site, that would be great.
By the way, whilst trying to find out about crotal bells I found one or two interesting sites which may be of interest to others here. One is the UK detector finds database website which lists 35 different crotal bells with photographs and interesting information. Here is the link, (I accessed it on 01.05.2007) to the ‘Aretfacts’ section, scroll down and look under ‘post medieval’ to find the crotal bells.
Indeed their whole site is interesting and they do fantastic work cataloguing their finds.
According to a Russian site I found, crotal bells and rumblers should not be classified as bells at all, but should be classified as rattles!
Would be interesting to hear what others think on this.
May 7, 2007 at 1:09 pm #13057Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
I think it may be from Tibet. I went to a flea market
this past summer and came up with a singing bowl and
some other small bells. Here are some websites that
(Posted by the moderator at the request of the writer.)
May 7, 2007 at 2:22 pm #13058Rita WalkerMember
I have just viewed your interesting crotal bell. The size is quite unusual. Most crotals tend to be smaller. However, I do have two large crotals in my collection. Both are from Japan. The first is 2 3/4″ in dia. and has an all-over raised geometric pattern. The other is more nearly like yours, but only 2 3/8″ in dia. It is quite old and from Japan also. It has Oriental raised writing on it and is called an “Evil Eye” crotal…the reason being that the lower half depicts the raised head and bulging eyes of a fish thought to ward off the evils of the world. After viewing yours I’m inclined to think it is from Tibet or India. You might be interested to learn that there is a much smaller crotal from India that usually has no embossing at all. This type was used on monkeys. Your bell struck me at first as being from India because of the garbled writing and the fact that some lettering “tried” to look like our alphabet. Many bell makers in that country produced bells for the tourist and export trade, and their markings consisted of marks substituted for letters. However, I have to also say that it could be from Tibet. and my reason for saying that is the handle. It is not the typical East Indian style handle. Rather, this style is usually found on Tibetan bells. So you see I’m torn between the two, but I’m leaning toward Tibet. In any event I feel you have a fine bell for yourself. Enjoy it!
May 7, 2007 at 3:13 pm #13059
Outrageous! How dare the Russians question what we call crotals and rumblers. Whatever next?
May 7, 2007 at 3:29 pm #13060
Hello Marietta, Thank you for your kind help and your suggestion to write to Omniglot.com. I sent an email and have had an amazingly swift reply . My highest praise to Simon Ager for an excellent, competent and friendly website and service.. I have asked his permission to post his reply here for you to read, and here it is:
On 07.05.2007 Simon Ager, author of Omniglot.com wrote:
“The script on the bell is the Devanagari alphabet, which is used to write
Hindi, Sanskrit and quite a few other languages. I’m not sure which
language it is though, so I’ve added the photo to my puzzles page to see
if any of the visitors to my site can help.”
Simon Ager, author of Omniglot.com
Omniglot.com – writing systems and languages of the world
Hopefully someone visiting the site will be able to give a definite identification of the language and perhaps even a translation. I will let you know if and when I find out, I am finding this quite exciting!
May 7, 2007 at 4:29 pm #13061
Most crotals tend to be smaller. However, I do have two large crotals in my collection. Both are from Japan. The first is 2 3/4″ in dia. and has an all-over raised geometric pattern. The other is more nearly like yours, but only 2 3/8″ in dia. It is quite old and from Japan also. It has Oriental raised writing on it and is called an “Evil Eye” crotal…the reason being that the lower half depicts the raised head and bulging eyes of a fish thought to ward off the evils of the world
It could be that I have not measured my bell accurately, the diameter I gave is approximate, so how is the best way to measure it?
Your Evil Eye bell sounds intriguing, could you post a picture on here, I would love to see it and the other one you have too.
I was interested to learn that the handle form also gives information as to its origin.
I have a smaller crotal bell which is more oviform and has no engraving. I bought it shortly after this bell, and I have had them both for about thirty years. Funnily enough I hadn’t given them much thought until I found this forum and now I am on a detecting journey and finding out so much interesting information on the way!
What type of monkey would wear a bell – were they the very small monkeys such as the barrel-organ players would have had on their shoulders in the old days ?
May 8, 2007 at 5:50 am #13062
More ancient crotal bells are turning up all the time in the UK. Metal detecting is a popular pastime here and more and more farmers are willing to allow groups of enthusiasts to search their land for old relics. Really good quality large crotals are rare and expensive.
I have done a blog on one of my favourites which gives a little history and photos which may be of interest:
Note that I use the term ‘rumbler’ rather than ‘crotal’ no one has come up with an explanation of the distinction between the two terms – larger spherical bells tend to be known as rumblers in my experience.
May 8, 2007 at 6:03 pm #13063
Already news on the inscription of the bell.
Many thanks to Omniglot who have come up trumps again, and it has taken less than 24 hrs!
“According to an Indian friend of T.J.’s [one of the contributors to the Oniglot website] .. the inscription is the name of a person, Mabaasaaram Jagadish Prasad from the town of Jalesar.” .
Omniglot.com accessed 08.05.2007
I have ‘googled ‘ Jalesar.
Jalesar is a town in the Uttar Pradesh state in India, apparently artisans from Jalesar moved to work in the brass industry in Moradabad which is not far away and is also in Uttar Pradesh. The brass industry boomed here in the 19th century, and it is thought that the Indian brass industry actually originated here.
The website (Google: Aboutt Moradabad – click on subsection: Process) showing the process in brassmaking is quite interesting, and shows the artisans at work and their skills in producing handmade articles in brass.
I have posted a message to the Moradabad project to see if they can give me any further information on the person named on the bell or the date it was cast
If I find any more information I will post it.
May 8, 2007 at 6:35 pm #13064
Just about to sign off for the evening and received notification of your last post. Fascinating.
Then I thought ‘that rings a bell’
And off to my little crotal collection, and what do I find.
This one has a diameter of about 2.5 inches. I cannot make out the name above but JALESAR is clear. The back is the same as the front and includes the number 3. Good luck with your continuing enquiries. Mine is back in place. I will live with my mystery.
May 9, 2007 at 4:44 am #13065Gordon R. BarnettParticipant
I sent the link & these photos to my friend in India, who, while obviously is not a bell collector & mistakes the two shots for two bells, nonetheless speaks several Indian languages. She replied in her usual lively manner:
I think that the first bell has the message, M.R. J.P…..my guess (yes, guess) is that it is someone called M R who was a Justice of the Peace; he might have had this bell “struck” or made as a kind of memorial bell…?? Those are definitely dots, not O’s, though.
The second bell….the inscription reads:
“mavaasaaraam (or it could be mabaasaaraam if there is a line through that letter)”
“jaleysar” (a town in north India)
32 would be the year, is my guess.
Lovely piece of work! I just looked up “crotal” on Google …
I would think that this bell was made by Mavasa Ram Jagadish Prasad, of Jalesar, in 1932.
Well, that’s MY two cents!
I agree that it is a handsome piece!
May 10, 2007 at 11:28 am #13066
Many thanks for sending the photos to your Indian friend, and please thank her for her excellent work in translation. The idea of M.R. being a Justice of the Peace is a real possibility, however I think she may have solved the puzzle of the initials on the back through her translation itself. Her translation split the name to Mavasa Ram Jagadish Prasad, the initials of which could be written as M.R.J.P.
What do you think?
I am so pleased that you both appreciate the workmanship of the piece, I think it is very hansome too.
The joy for me is that this piece of work has probably travelled thousands of miles, been owned by various people, (we still aren’t sure of its original function – some kind of animal bell for instance) and survived to inspire us to try and trace its history across continents so many years later, meeting so many lovely people along the way.
Kind regards, and once again thank you, I really enjoyed reading your friend’s bubbly mail.
May 11, 2007 at 6:35 pm #13067Gordon R. BarnettParticipant
I agree with yoour assesment:
“…however I think she may have solved the puzzle of the initials on the back through her translation itself. Her translation split the name to Mavasa Ram Jagadish Prasad, the initials of which could be written as M.R.J.P.
What do you think?”
I noticed that as well. It seems she believed she was seeing two different bells, as I mention.
Thanks for sharing your crotal & best wishes in your search for it’s provenance.
Gordon [ GRBELLS.COM ]
November 12, 2008 at 1:38 am #13068BellSageParticipant
At first I thought it might be Tibetan (they commonly use two forms of script) but when I looked at the bigger photo, it looked more like Sanskrit. In Sanskrit, it looks like va ma on the top left and I’m pretty sure that’s ja on the bottom left and middle left but many of the characters are worn and it’s hard to make them out to get full words. In Devanagari, the second from top left looks like po except that it’s missing a diacritical mark.
The combination of Sanskrit/Devanagari and English numbers on the bottom and English letters on the back to indicate style and/or size suggests it may have been mass-produced and designed for export. Mass-produced doesn’t necessarily mean machine-maid. In Asia, many mass-produced items are crafted by human hands.
As others mentioned, the bell may be Tibetan or Indian and looks fairly old, but probably dates from the the early or mid-20th century, so your Indian friend’s guess that “32” might be a year could be correct. It’s also possible that “32” was an indicator of the size of the bell or a specific model of bell.
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