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date: 06 December 2019


  • Alan R. Thrasher


Bronze clapperless bells associated primarily with Chinese Buddhist temples. They are commonly called zhong, though properly fanzhong (‘Buddhist bells’). Most are large bells, with circular cross-section, moderately convex profile, and a dome-shaped crown typically smaller than the rim, which is often waved or scalloped. The fanzhong is suspended vertically from a heavy beam or frame by a decorated loop on its crown. It is struck by a thick, horizontally suspended post which is swung against the bell. Dating from about the 6th century ce or earlier, fanzhong of less than 1 metre tall gradually increased in size during the imperial period. A 14th-century fanzhong is more than 2 metres tall, with a rim diameter of 1.3 metres. The largest of all Chinese bells, an early 15th-century bell hung in the Beijing Bell Tower is about 7 metres tall, with a rim diameter of about 3 metres. It is inscribed with Buddhist sutras. Buddhist bells are used in signaling, marking times of the day and for worship purposes. (For bibliography see zhong.)...

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