AGE: – 19th Century (dated 1856 AD in Burmese Script)
CONSTRUCTION: – Bronze and cast iron
DESCRIPTION: – 19th Century Burmese Bronze Temple Bell – visible verdigris on the bronze and rust on the iron section but stable. Comes with wooden striker and stand optional.
TOTAL HEIGHT: – 85cm
DIAMETER ACROSS BOTTOM OF BELL: – 40cm
HEIGHT BELL ONLY – 38cm
HEIGHT BOTTOM TO TOP BRACKET: – 57cm
WEIGHT: – Approx 68kg without stand – stand approx. 6 kg.
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A large 19th Century Burmese Bronze Temple Bell, (Burmese script on the bell dated 1856 AD) supported by a cast iron bracket decorated with mythological creatures, with a lotus bud pattern decorating the shoulder.
Two mythological creatures known as “chinthe”, or lion guardians are cast onto the top of the bell, flanking either side, this forms the bracket in which the bell is suspended on a cast iron rod decorated on either side with the figures of kinaree and kinara, half man half bird.
After casting the top section of the bell, the lions, Kinaree and Kinara were brightly painted, now worn with only a small amount of paint still visible.
Kinaree and Kinara, the two mythological figures also known in Burma as Keinnaya or Kinnaya are popular figures in Thailand, Laos and Cambodian myth and folklore. They are seen in carvings, wall murals, temples and pagodas throughout Burma and other parts of South East Asia.
It is believed by Buddhists in Burma that the Kinaree and Kinara presented themselves in four of the 136 reincarnated past animal lives of the Buddha. The Chinthe is seen symbolically on the royal thrones of Burma, and decorate the entrances in pagodas and temples. Small bronze weights in the shape of the Chinthe were also used as money for trade.
Every monastery, temple and pagoda, in Myanmar have bells similar to this, they are rung by hitting them with a wooden mallet after worshipers make their personal devotions to the Buddha. The bell is rung three times to make known their devotion and also to share merit and good fortune with others.
The importance of these bronze bells to the Buddhist in Myanmar come second only after the Buddha and are rung by worshipers on a daily basis.
The casting of these bronze bells is done with great ceremony, often on auspicious occasions with onlookers sometime throwing silver and gold during the casting at a time when the offerings are likely to appear on the surface of the bell as white streaks.