Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells help identify antique crotal bell in wood frame

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    • #12030

      [attachment=1:38curcgh]Photo on 2012-03-29 at 09.48 #2.jpg[/attachment:38curcgh]My mom got this at an antique store yesterday…

      It appears very old. The bell is worn almost smooth, and there is a patina on the wood. Some very faint remnants of paint on part of the wood. Mom thinks the slatting is metal, I’m not sure about that… The bell itself has a very rich pleasant sound. I am not sure about the measurements of the bell, but if I recall, it was about palm sized… I can get some measurements later.

      The store owner said it was a tibetan wind chime, we have our doubts about that as well.

      Please excuse the poor photos, this is what mom sent me this morning.

    • #16933

      we have since measured the bell, and it measures 3 inches in diameter.

      ETA: We thing the ball inside is stone, and it is loose inside

    • #16934

      Hello Alexa!

      Yes, a better photo would be of help. But that said, it looks very similar to a bell of mine, in both shape and size. I’ll include a photo here.

      Mine is a Susu Brass Japanese Shinto Temple Bell.
      Susu is the area of Japan where it was manufactured, not a deity or anything like that. They produce a number of bell items, including ceramic ones, as well as other goods (plates for example).

      So I suspect yours is indeed a Temple bell, but it would take some research and careful study to confirm that it is genuine. Do you have / can get any other history / provenance for it? As well as the origin.

      Bells hung over doorways are usually for good luck unless made to ring by someone entering (such as a shop bell). I don’t see anything that would cause this bell to ring in the wind, but there may be pieces missing that I am unaware of (I have never been to Tibet or Japan!) so I don’t know about that. I suspect that, if it’s from a full sized door, it’s simply for good luck unless it’s from an internal shrine. These are usually built Low (at table top level) so that one could reach in to place offerings to the ancestors. The bell in that case is likely struck with a small mallet or by hand to announce your presence to the spirits.

      Hope this helps!

    • #16935

      That bell does not look Japanese nor does the setting. Also, it looks cast, not formed . Though I don’t know, it looks to me to be from southern Asia or South East Asia.

    • #16936

      Thanks for your replies 🙂

      I done some research on Japanese temple bells, and I have to say the structure of those bells, including the one Gary posted appears to be different from ours. All of the Japanese bells have a noticeable indention in the middle, whereas ours is round. Does anybody have a clue as to the use of the wood frame?

    • #16932

      Humm, I guess I wasn’t clear.
      Yes, I believe my bell to be of Japanese origin.
      No,I do not believe the one in question here is Japanese, it looks Nepalese style to me.

      I was rather trying to answer the possible use of the bell, which was one of the questions asked, using mine as an example of the smaller size.

      It’s a bit difficult to narrow down without measurements, but I suspect that it is similar ‘in use’ to the one I showed, again admittedly from a different culture. I am interested if others know of another use, but all the research I have done so far points to one of three ‘types’ depending on size (again measurements!) of this bell style, when they are mounted in a frame like what is shown here.

      1. Smaller ‘table top size’ usually tend to be small shrine bells such as a wall or window type shrine, and are tapped to draw ancestor’s attention. These were more of a private/individualized significance, such as a family shrine, small prayer room shrine, that kind of thing.
      2. Medium sized over doorways or tall frames tend to be “good luck” and/or “door chimes” and can be either decorative or struck with an exterior clapper (ie clapper on a rope swung against the side). I did see one documentary that also suggested a group prayer room bell but they did not expand on that statement. I only mention it here for completeness.
      3. Large gong sized ones are large temple worship type bells typically, rung with a wooden pole mounted sideways like a battering ram and swung end first into the bell. They are more USED like our English church bells- as warning signals, calls to worship, notices, that kind of thing.

      I originally only mentioned the first two as I didn’t think the bell here was the largest version – as they are huge.
      (I suppose there are now ‘knock offs’ of each type for the tourist trade that are solely decorative as well, but we aren’t trying to ‘authenticate’ it here.)

      I have seen each of the three types shown on various History Channel documentaries, all of which have indicated these uses (none said anything about wind chimes).

      Hopefully this clarifies what I was trying to say. I apologize if anyone thought I was trying to indicate that the bells were of the same origin. They are not.

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