Japanese / Densho (Temple Bell) / 19th CenturyJapanese
Densho (Temple Bell)
19th Century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Name-CRT: Japanese
Title: Densho (Temple Bell)
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1800
Creation End Date: 1899
Creation Date: 19th Century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Idiophone/bell/clapperless
Materials and Techniques: bronze
Dimensions: H. 27 in. (68.6 cm); Diam. 15 in. (38.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 89.4.1803
Credit Line: The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Rights: http://www.metmuseum.org/

In Japanese ceremonies, suspended cast-iron bells are used for signaling during prayer and for calling Buddhists to worship. The densho, or hansho, incorporates many symbolic motifs found in the Far East. The suspension loop (ryuzo) is formed by two dragon heads and a flame; the upper third contains nipples (nyu), a symbol of fertility, and the barren field below (ikenomachi) provides a place for poetry or iconography. The chrysanthemums, a symbol of longevity and happiness, form the striking surface (shuza). This densho, intended for trade, has an additional element-a dramatic confrontation between dragon and eagle-that is atypical. The densho is occasionally heard in the kabuki theater's off-stage ensembles.

AMICA ID: MMA_.89.4.1803
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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