Known in SE Asia as chu, this is
a particularly large 19th century elephant bell from Bagan. It is cast in bronze and
has been incised with a traditional design and bears the maker’s insignia.
Elephant bells of such impressive size are very rarely seen nowadays. A metal
ball rolls around inside the bell and sounds against the bell wall with
pleasant gentle notes. The bell is in excellent condition and is hung from a
custom built stand.
Circumference: 33cm, 13 in
Weight: 848g (without stand)
Height: 14cm, 5.5 in
Height of stand: 36cm, 14 in
Please see below for
shipping costs as well as a brief description of the tradition of bell making in SE Asia.
Visit our gallery at www.sabaidesignsgallery.com to see our full collection of antique bronze bells, Buddhist art,
Asian antiques, artifacts, silk textiles, and tribal textiles.
bronze bells from Southeast Asia have
understandably become a sought after collector’s item. The bells of old are
often far more beautiful than bells crafted today. They were cast in bronze and
bear a range of attractive designs and often interesting inscriptions. In SE Asia,
the tradition of blacksmithing has always been an honoured occupation
associated with courage, strength and integrity. The Nat isan
ancient spirit guardian possessing supernatural powers.
The household Nat can take many forms, the most powerful being the
Mahagiri Nat, Nga Tin-de (Mr Handsome), a blacksmith of
extraordinary strength who was killed by a jealous king. “He wielded two
hammers; with his right hand he held an iron hammer weighing fifty viss, and
with his left hand he held another hammer weighing twenty-five viss. When Nga
Tin-de worked his smithy and when he used his hammers against the anvil,
the whole city quaked and trembled.” (Maung Htin Aung, Folk Elements in Theravada
They excelled at bronze casting using the lost wax method or cire perdue.
The nature of the work was hot, dusty and malodorous so foundries and
smithies were located on the outskirts of town in open sided bamboo shelters.
They made their own crucibles of clay with a lip for pouring, and handled them
with cradles of bamboo or wood during the casting process. A shallow hole in
the ground served as a hearth and the charcoal fuel was kept at the desired
temperature by bellows made from hollowed bamboo with feather covered pistons-
an ingenious device which was used until it was replaced with leather bellows
under the influence of the British.
offers a dynamic collection of some of the most beautiful and interesting items
available from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and India. Our products
are hand made by skilled artists, craftsmen and women and are often ‘one of a
kind’ pieces. We are constantly stocking our store with exotic new treasures
that reflect the colourful cultures and traditions of the East. We hope to
support traditional and emerging skills in developing countries by finding a
global market for their rich and diverse creations. sabai designs also
supports Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for elephants in northern Thailand.
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