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date: 16 November 2019

Bonshō [daishō, tsurigane, ōgane]locked

  • Henry Johnson


[daishō, tsurigane, ōgane]

Bell of Japan. The word bonshō refers to the religious context of the bell and to the type of instrument: bon (Brahman); shō (a reading of the ideograph for bell). The bonshō is normally cast of bronze or occasionally iron, and has lines and symbolic markings on its outer surface. It is often about 150 cm tall, and the term bonshō is normally used for examples where the mouth is more than about 50 cm wide (compare hanshō and hontsurigane, below). The bonshō normally hangs in a tower in the grounds of a Buddhist temple. It is struck on the outside with a long wooden beater, normally suspended horizontally. It was introduced to Japan with Buddhism and is played as a signalling instrument and during some rituals. The oldest known bonshō dates from the 6th century and is housed at Nara National Museum.

The term hanshō (han: half) is used for smaller types of suspended bronze bell. Alternative names include ...

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