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Bianzhong with Horizontal “8”-shaped Pattern (Bronze Bianzhong with snake pattern) (3 bells)

Generally well preserved. Slightly broken. Made of bronze, with light green colour on the surface. This bell is crudely made. The body of the bell is shaped like a combined pair of tiles. The two xuan points are straight with slanted angles. The mouth (yu) is slightly curved. The handle (yong) is solid in the middle with an oval cross-section. The handle does not have a raised collar but has a lug (xuanchong) attached to it. The lug is decorated with “8”-shaped designs made up of double-stranded cord patterns, which is rarely seen. The body of the bell is long and slim. The bell has 36 long studs, thin but not round, with varying heights. The wu is decorated with cloud patterns in low relief. The central panel (zheng) is decorated with thunder patterns. The areas (zhuan) between the studs and the gu are both decorated with “8”-shaped designs. The centre of the gu is decorated with 9 studs in 3 rows, which is quite rare to see. A complete set of these bells should contain more than three. There must be other bells missing between the second and the third. This set of chime bells is crudely made. The design of these bells is somewhere between the style of a bianzhong bell and a yongzhong bell. These bells are likely to be musical instruments cast by the aboriginal Yue people, before the Chu people entered Hunan around the Spring and Autumn period.

  • Measurements:Total height: 40.6cm, length of the yong: 9.7cm, diameter of the top of the yong: 2.4cm, diameter of the bottom of the yong: 2.9-4.0cm, horizontal diameter of the wu: 15.8cm, vertical diameter of the wu: 9.5cm, mid-body length: 28.0cm, length of the xian: 31.2cm, distance between the two xian points: 18.3cm, distance between the two sides of the centre of the gu: 12.3cm, thickness of the middle of the gu: 1.0cm, height of each stud: 2.5cm, weight: 5.4kg