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Bronze Bell Bo
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2022.01.25 13:11:24

Measurements: Height 19.9-26.4 cm, Weight 1.23-2.35 KG
Period: Spring and Autumn Period(770--476 BCE)
Provenance: Unearthed in tomb M10 at Xiasi, Xichuan county, 1978.

The Bo Bell, a percussion instrument from ancient China, was born in Southern China.The earliest ones date back to the Shang dynasty, in the middle Western Zhou period, where they became one of the hanging instruments in the Central Plains in the Shang dynasty. According to Shuowen Jiezi (Explaining Graphs and Analyzing Characters) and Yi Li (Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial), the bo bells were similar to the chime bells, but larger in size, as a musical instrument. It was played more frequently for religious and ritualistic purposes.

This set of bo bells feature similar shapes and graduated sizes. It comprises of 8 pieces of lenticular sections, and the top part is smaller than the lower part. Two kui dragons in openwork form the handle, and both the obverse side and the reverse side are respectively adorned with 18 whore raised bosses. Vertical bands of dragons in demi relievo alternate with the bands of bosses, and the panel in the center and parts above the bottom rim on the left and right sides appear to be inscribed with characters.

The inscriptions state that the owner of the bronze musical instruments unearthed from No.10 tomb at Xiasi of Xichuan is the grandson of the king of the Lü state, who had forged an alliance with the king of Chu state. With “Jiang” as the surname of the ruling court, the regional Lü State - located west of the modern Nanyang - was conquered by the Chu State at the latest in 584 BC. This set of music instruments were presumably transferred to the upper-class aristocrat, and served as the burial goods of the tomb occupant of the No.10 tomb after the collapse of the Lü State.