January 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm #11966jkeaneParticipant
My name is Johanne I am studying a MA in Museum and Artefact studies and I am doing a research project on this copper bell (please see attached image) It is part of Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsleys collection and it is said to be found in Egypt however the information is not convincing or backed up correctly and I or an scholars I have conferred with cannot find any bells parallel to this in Egypt. Instead I believe it to be of neighbouring origin and a few scholars have said it may be Islamic. I was hoping someone may be able to help me!
Have you come across anything like this or have a bell similar to this in your collection? The bell is a copper alloy containing only 5-10% tin. Also, traces of silver have also been picked up by edf radiology. I realized that it may not be visible from the image I attached but the the bell has two slits with petals bent in. It is hard to decipher how many as some are broken off but there are 4 or 6 petals.it also has 3 incised lines the whole way around the bell.
The ball/pea is attached to a chain inside the bell. Do these characteristics suggest to you what the bell may have been used for? I thought it may be a horse bell but does the chain inside suggest otherwise? everyone is puzzled by the fact that it is enclosed yet had a chain with ball inside. From the image and information can you suggest a date or origin of the bell?
January 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm #16776
First, Welcome to ABA! Hope you become a regular member here! I was hoping that others might take a shot at answering your question, as my areas of knowledge don’t specifically go back that far. But if it helps, I’ll share my thoughts on it. Here goes.
In regard to your bell, I preface my comments with two points:
1) I am not a history major / buff / expert in that area of the world.
2) I don’t collect antiquities, so my knowledge is very limited with things that old!
Your copper Crotal style bell is a bit difficult to make out on my computer, but it looks to be along the Claw style more typical of India, that has partially corroded and fused together over time. I would not find this overly surprising, as these two countries are fairly close and my limited research suggests that they have long had trade relations: For example, the Cairo Embassy: http://www.indembcairo.com/Web%20Pages/ind_egy_bilateral.aspx “India and Egypt are two of the world’s ancient civilizations with a history of close contact.” Copper is lighter (and relatively cheaper metal) than most of the other metals of the period, so if it was imported weight on the caravan animal’s back would be an important factor and likely to be the one most imported.
You asked about why the bell ‘pea’ is mounted on a chain. One of the draw backs of a claw style bell, especially I would think with a soft metal like copper, is that the ‘tines’ tend to bend &/or break off fairly easily. If you look at your bell, it shows evidence of such damage. The chain should certainly help retain that relatively expensive metal piece from being lost, and would keep it sounding even after damage occurs. Repairs for a ‘bent’ one would become trivial then too – simply bend it back. My understanding is that metal working and supplies were relatively expensive back then, particularly in Egypt, so the metal of these bells were likely something to take extra efforts to maintain. The fact that your bell has a metal pea would suggest (to me at least) that the bell is likely to be a higher quality then most. Most I have seen tend to use small rocks for the pea. The sound from them should be noticeably different than the ones with metal peas!
If you look in books such as L.Elsinore Springer’s “The Collector’s Book of Bells” she alludes to newer forms and other countries using these style of bells being used in ceremonial anklets, bracelets, and necklaces. I would suggest then that one also would not want to have the bells go silent in the middle of your ceremony! So that would possibly be a second reason why you would ‘chain it down’. Even if a tine broke or bent then it would still rattle. That extra effort in construction would also lead me to more likely believe it to be a human wearable bell rather than an animal bell. Also Humans would likely be more ‘gentle’ with their expensive gear so could get away with wearing softer metals like copper where as most animals could care less. 😉
I hope this gives you some ideas where you might research next. Please let us know what you find out. I’d be curious to know if my thoughts on the matter are anywhere close to what you end up finding!
January 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm #16777jkeaneParticipant
thank you for your very informative reply it is very helpful! I bought the book you mentiond too and i find it great! I am still working on it and will indeed let you know any results. i was wondering if you know of any good casting referenced online? also if you know how these small bells were trpically cast!?
Thank you 🙂
February 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm #16778
Absolutely I have that. I will check my references for you tonight when I am home from work, then post it.
February 2, 2012 at 3:14 am #16779
Ok, here are some references you might be interested in that I use:
– metal of the bells: http://classicbells.com/info/BrassBronze.htm
– construction of: http://classicbells.com/info/Crotal.htm
(actually go to http://classicbells.com/info to see a plethora of excellent data!)
I’ll e-mail you more as I am only permitted to do 3 urls at a time here.
Don’t forget about this site too though. Search for Corotal (upper right search box) to see what I mean!
There is a whole discussion group on “articles about bells” to check out too!
Hopefully this helps!
February 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm #16780sherazParticipant
This is sheraz from Pakistan.
Your description is a bit sketchy, however the bell appears to be what is called a rumbler or crotal bell Such a bell is usually made of 4 components; a suspension loop, 2 halves of the body and a pea.In your bell the chain serves as the suspension loop holding the pea at its bottom end.
You must need to determine if it was cast as (a) one piece open bell, with quarters enclosed around the pea or with an open bottom half and the 2 halves closed around the pea; or (b) cast in 2 pieces, with an integral loop, soldered together around the pea.
Some more photographs from different angles may help us have a better idea of the bell.
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