This bell, in cross section a pointed oval with an arched line at the bottom has a bottle-shaped handle that is most unusual. The decor field, confined to the body of the bell, is filled with granulation. It displays a variation of the 'volute with angle' theme; every two such figures combine into larger compounds, the whole resulting in a lozenge pattern. The border is partly a running spiral pattern and partly dissolved dragon figures. At the lower corners are sinuously drawn birds with S- or heart shaped horns. The mask of a playful t'ao-t'ieh must be seen from above. Patina brownish green with brighter green patches.

Zheng ritual bell, 5th century BCE

Unknown artist, expand_more

Bronzeexpand_more

Bequest of Alfred F. Pillsburyexpand_more  50.46.115

Although it has the general shape of a small yong bell, this instrument lacks the ring suspension device of the yong as well as the 36 bosses found on most late Zhou bells. And if it were suspended, the composite-animal taotie mask on the body would be upside down. Known as zheng, this type of bell was not used in graduated sets but rather individually, and was held in an upright position. The incised bird and volute, triangular, and running spiral patterns are similar to those found on painted lacquers of the same era, and were prevalent in southern China during the Spring and Autumn (c. 770–476 BCE) and Warring States (c. 475–221 BCE) periods.

Details
Title
Zheng ritual bell
Role
Artist
Accession Number
50.46.115
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

This bell, in cross section a pointed oval with an arched line at the bottom has a bottle-shaped handle that is most unusual. The decor field, confined to the body of the bell, is filled with granulation. It displays a variation of the 'volute with angle' theme; every two such figures combine into larger compounds, the whole resulting in a lozenge pattern. The border is partly a running spiral pattern and partly dissolved dragon figures. At the lower corners are sinuously drawn birds with S- or heart shaped horns. The mask of a playful t'ao-t'ieh must be seen from above. Patina brownish green with brighter green patches.