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Po Cheng (Ritual Bell): Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Like all the individual bells shown here, this richly adorned example was originally part of a graduated set. It is of the type po-cheng, one of two popular bell shapes encountered in Eastern Chou dynasty burials. Po-cheng bells have a flat bottom, slightly convex sides, a suspension device often in the form of stylized animals, cast on top, and emit a single tone. The second basic type of bell, called yung-cheng, is also shown in this case. Both types of bells have an elliptical cross-section--rather than round--and include thirty-six evenly spaced bosses (mei) cast into the body. The specific cross-sectional shape and bosses are crucial to the note and tonal qualities of the instrument. The bosses of this beautifully decorated bell are in the form of coiled snakes, and the suspension device is a pair of tigers, entwined with a snake. On the bottom register is an elaborate t'ao-t'ieh mask decorated with scale rows, pointed spirals, and granulation.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009