Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Buddhist Ceremonial Bell (Kongōrei): Pagoda Finial Bell (Tōrei) Type

Kamakura period (1185–1333)
13th century
Gilt bronze
H. 7 5/8 in. (19.4 cm); Diam. 3 1/8 in. (7.92 cm)
Credit Line:
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 223
Bells used in Esoteric Buddhist rituals often had handles shaped like vajra (thunderbolt) ritual tools with five prongs. This one, however, is equipped with a handle that represents a pagoda formed of the five elements of the cosmos. Earth, at the base, is a square; water a sphere; fire a pyramid; wind a half-moon; and air, at the peak, a jewel.
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