Japanese Antique Bronze Temple Bell

Antique Japanese Meiji Bronze Buddhist Temple Bell | Dotaku


Age:1868-1912 (Late Edo Period)

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 8-1/2”h x 5-1/2”dia

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, (Dotaku), which is used on the corners of a temple. The suspension loop (Ryuzo) is formed by an unornamented loop; the upper third contains Chichi which are projections representing the 108 evil desires, and the Tsukiza, the point which the clapper strikes, and terminating in a refined lotus-petal design striking surface, terminating in a refined lotus shape.

The sound of this bell differ in sound from others because of it is totally hand-fabricated, and made of combinations of metals, which differ slightly, which produces the quality and depth of sound unique to that bell. Because of the clapper and tassel it is believed to be the type was made to “catch” the wind and typically placed on the corner of buildings.

Vintage Condition: Exceptional, with excellent detailing, quite heavy, with the details fully complete. “As is” with its original patina and parts and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, surface wear is from the natural environment and aging. Any discoloration, surface wear or structural damage is noted. 

NOTE: The origin of bells is shrouded in the mist of antiquity. Discovering how to smelt the ore of metals, such as copper, tin, and zinc went through a long development period. 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.