Condition: Excellent

Japanese Bronze Buddhist Temple Bell | Hutaku | Meiji era 1868-1912

The ringing voices of bells have comforted humans in time of despair, warned individuals of impending danger, accompanied solders in battle, in revelry, and supported people in everyday worship. This is a beautifully detailed Bronze Temple Bell, (Hutaku or Hotyaku), which is used on the corners of a temple. The suspension loop (ryuzo) is formed by an unornamented loop; the upper third contains projections (nyu, influence of Old Magoism and the Great Goddess Mago, and a symbol of fertility & desire), and the barren field below, (ikenomachi), and usually provides a place for poetry or iconography, and the point to which the clapper strikes, (tsukiza), terminating in a refined lotus shape.

The sound of Buddhist bells differ in sound from each other because of them being totally hand-fabricated, and made of combinations of metals, which differ slightly, depending on the quality and depth of sound to be produced. Because of the clapper and tassle it is believed to be the type that is suppose to “catch” the wind. The piece is in excellent condition with its original patina and parts.Dimensions: 8-1/2”h x 5-1/2”dia.           

Historical Information—

The origin of bells is shrouded in the mist of antiquity. Developing a true ringing sonority, however, had to await man’s discovery of how to smelt the ore of metals, such as copper, tin, and zinc. Bell makers had developed a new substance with a special characteristic, which was destined to play a unique role in all future generations both in Asia and throughout the world. Precisely where bells first appeared is unknown, although Western Asia has claimed its origin. Whatever the case, the entire civilized world created numerous forms of metallic ringing objects, and the pattern of their use was universal to a large extent.

The Japanese were successful in controlling the pitch of bells, which became integrated into the rituals of worship. In all religions throughout the ages, ecclesiastics have sought to create an environment that would enhance spiritual communion by appealing to the senses, both emotionally and aesthetically. The bell held a certain aura of mysticism, as if it contained hidden spirits that communicated with the living by means of an enigmatic language, one intermittently plaintive, ominous, stern, or reassuring. From earliest times, the indefinite fading of a ringing tone has been associated with the infinite.

In the hands of the ingenious Asian, the bell became a truly diversified instrument. It was made of various metals and fashioned in many shapes-square, rectangular, round, elliptic, pointed elliptic, and in the form of a bowl, cup, barrel, or lotus, with either straight or irregular rim. It was hung in a fixed position (a suspended bell is never swung), or held in the hand. It might be struck from either the inside or the outside, or jingled. As metal-casting techniques improved, the size of bells increased, and even in ancient times the Japanese cast bells weighing many tons, which were suspended around temples and palaces.

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