Important Cultural PropertyBronze bell

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  • Cast bronze
  • Max. height 44.2 cm, height of sound tube 10.5 cm, height of body 33.3 cm, max. diameter 27.1 cm
  • Goryeo dynasty (Korea), 1201
  • Kyushu National Museum
  • E32

This bell exhibits characteristics of Korean-style bells, such as a hollow sound tube on top, positioned next to a dragon-shaped canon (the loop from which the bell is suspended), as well as elegant arabesque motifs and depictions of flying deities on its body. At the center of the body is an inscription indicating that it was installed in Cheonjeongsa Temple in the second month of the year 1201. The year 1201 was written as “Cheng’an 6” (Kr. Seung’an), with “Cheng’an” being an era name from the Chinese Jin 金 dynasty, that the Goryeo Kingdom also adopted. Details regarding the temple of Cheonjeongsa, where the bell was installed, are unknown. At a mere 44.2 cm tall, this bell is relatively small and exhibits slightly poor workmanship, features that are common to works of its time.

Many of these Korean bells made their way to Japan during the two nations’ interactions throughout history, and were subsequently passed down in various places all over the nation. This bell, for example, once belonged to the feudal Itō clan, who oversaw the Obi domain in Hyūga (present-day Miyazaki) during the Edo period.