Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Devils and Demons

Viewing 3 reply threads
  • Author
    • #11242

      The Dartmoor Pixie and Lincoln Imp started me thinking about other devils and demons on table bells.

      The Christian religion and writings have the Devil – Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Mephistopheles. The first picture shows the Devil in chains, an extraordinary bronze figure that I acquired several years ago. Its original use and purpose is unknown, and it was then mounted on a bell that was too small and did not complement the figure very well. I have since remounted it on a bell that is more pleasing to me. The figure and the bell are each 4 in (10 cm) high.

      The second picture shows the obverse of the figure in more detail. The inscription at the base reads “Pax Satana Retrograde.” “Pax” is a motto of Benedictine monks. “Satana Retrograde” would mean something like Satan opposed, Satan moved backward, etc. The phrase may be connected to a Roman Catholic exorcism prayer:

      Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana!
      Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas!

      Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities!
      What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!

      The third picture is the reverse of the figure, with a bony hand emerging from foliate and grasping the Devil by the neck and shoulders.

      Japanese folklore has the Oni – various creatures which could be described as a (not the) devil, demon, ogre, troll, malignant creature. The next set of pictures shows a bell (bronze, 6.5 in, 16 cm) with an Oni struggling to free himself from the shackles that bind his wrists to a boulder. Some villages have an annual Spring Setsuban festival to drive out the Oni by casting soybeans outside their homes with the incantation:
      Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi! (Oni go out! Blessings come in!)

      The next set of pictures shows two more devils. The bell on the left (bronze, 6.6 in, 16.5 cm) has the devil in sort of a Mephistopheles (Faust) mode, with tail between his legs, mounted on a base with scenes perhaps of Dante’s Inferno. The bell on the right (silver over bronze with much of the silver worn away, 5.4 in, 13.5 cm) has the devil in jester costume and holding a small handbell above his head. It is marked with the symbol for Christofle (France) and is a very precise casting. The bell is separate from the head, and it is possible to slip a single sheet of paper between the two.

      The final set of pictures shows two more Oni figures. The bell on the left (bronze, 5.5 in, 14 cm) has an Oni with a walking staff. The one on the right (brass, 3.5 in, 9 cm) is double sided, with the same face on each side. The handle is usually a fixed protruding hand grasping an object, as shown here, but I do not know what it might signify. I saw one from Germany about ten years ago that had the handle mounted as a nodder, with the hand swaying backwards and forwards. Manfred shows one with a different handle on his website http://www.bellcollector.jimdo.com/galerie

    • #14885

      Hi Alan,

      to add my part to your excellent article on devils and demons
      here are the two ONI figures in my collection with different handles.


    • #14886

      The site becomes more and more interesting.

      Checking my collection I found another two devils
      which you might want to see.

      [attachment=1:grwyngas]062-1.JPG 129.JPG[/attachment:grwyngas]

    • #14887

      I was searching for a particular bell (bronze, 5″, 12.5 cm) to augment Rob’s DRAGONS and was thinking that this might be St. George and the Dragon. Upon closer inspection, it appears to be Archangel Michael vanquishing Satan, so it more properly belongs here. The reverse reads “SOUVENIR 1935” and the inscription around the base “LA LUSTRERIE BRUXELLOISE SA.”

Viewing 3 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.