"Niuzhong" bell - ROM2015_14620_30


"Niuzhong" bell

Medium:Cast bronze
Geography: Reportedly from Jincun, Luoyang, Henan province, China
Date: 6th century BC
Period: Eastern Zhou period
21.6 x 11.6 cm
Object number: 930.21.137
Credit Line: Bishop William C. White Collection
Not on view
DescriptionThese two bells belong to a set of fourteen graduated bells that reportedly came from a necropolis near Jin Cun, Henan, near the capital of the king of Zhou. The rest of the set is in the Sumitomo collection in Japan. The importance of the bells lies in the inscription on the larger bell. When material from Jin Cun first came on the art market in the early 1930s, it was thought to date to the Qin dynasty, third century BC. The discovery of the Biao bells changed this view. A number of eminent Chinese and Western scholars have tackled the question of the Biao inscription. The bells were cast to record an honour bestowed on Biao for his part in a military campaign. The date of casting is given as the 'twenty-second' year. This is generally considered to refer to the twenty-second year of the reign of a Zhou king of the Eastern Zhou period. More than one monarch of the period reigned that long, however. There are two possible dates, 550 and 440 BC. Both can be supported from historical records, but the earlier one is in closer agreement with events and persons mentioned in the inscription."
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