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Zhuzhou Xinglong Nao (Bronze nao with insect motif)

Well preserved. Made of bronze, with green colour on the surface. The body of the bell is shaped like a combined pair of tiles. The underside (wu) is flat and the two xian points are straight. A tubular rod named yong (handle) on the base, which is thick and short, hollow in the middle and is connected to the inner cavity. The yong bears a raised collar called xuan. The mouth (yu) is only slightly curved and almost flat. It has inner lips. The centre of the gu has raised surfaces to be struck when playing the nao. The animal-mask motifs on the body have been simplified. They are formed by two C-shaped designs facing each other, with serrated edges on two sides.The patterns are not entirely symmetrical. The shorter side of the C shape has 3-7 serrated teeth while the longer side has 9-11 serrated teeth. The centre of the body and the left side of the gu also have serrated edges. The eyes of the animal-mask are made from small turtles with triangular heads and very small tails, tilted towards one side. Each of the C-shaped designs are decorated with three conical studs. Each of the two sides of the gu has a dragon motif with a triangular head, four small, long feet and hair on its body. The eyebrow-shaped decorative lines that feature on later-dated bronze bo bells and on the sides of the gu of later-dated bronze nao bells are simplified forms of these dragon designs. Simplified decorative designs such as the animal-mask, small turtles, serrated edges and the dragon motifs all firstly originated on nao bells. This is a special type of nao and the only such one that has been seen so far.

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  • Materials:Bronze
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  • Inscriptions:
  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:111.242.11 (Individual) resting bells
  • Repository:Hunan Museum
  • Measurements:Total height: 41.6cm, mid-body length: 26.5cm, weight: 11.1kg, horizontal diameter of the wu: 23.5cm, vertical diameter of the wu: 14.8cm, distance between the two xian points: 31.0cm, length of the xian: 30.4cm, length of the yong: 11.7cm, diameter of the top of the yong: 6.8-7.5cm, diameter of the bottom of the yong: 6.0-6.7cm, distance between the two sides of the centre of the gu: 18.9cm, thickness of the middle of the gu: 1.3cm