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Meo Pagoda's bell, Le dynasty, in Thanh Hoa Museum

Date 01 - 02 - 2016

Thanh Hoa museum is keeping and promoting the value of Meo pagoda’s bell, Le dynasty. This bronze bell is originally from Meo pagoda (so called Chu pagoda), Chieng Ban village, Quang Hien commune, Lang Chanh district, Thanh Hoa province. Meo pagoda has real name as “Dinh Mieu Tu”

The bell is 109cm in height (handle 30cm in height), 50cm in mouth diameter, 30cm in top of the bell diameter, 149cm in circumference. The handle of the bell is formed by two dragons in back to back posture creating the curve shape. A small bottle of wine is on top of the handle. And it got several embossed segments running down along the body. The inscription on the bell is still quite clear, carved in form of Chan typeface. The writing is fine, deeply-carved and sharp. The first part of the inscription tell about the meaning of ringing tone of the bell. And then, it is about the “long-standing scared land and extraordinary people” place, where the pagoda locates in. The inscription mostly is about the donation of the people living in this area and other places for bell casting. Their full names, hometowns, position are clearly written down. One inscription line do indicate the bell-casting year “Nice day, at the end of spring of the fourteenth Vinh Thinh year, Le dynasty (1718)”

The Meo pagoda’s bell is big bronze bell. The handle of the bell is a unique work of arts, showing the level, well-developed casting and carving technique. The product is fine without any retouching. The bell ringing tone is nice and resounding. The inscription written in Sino characters is an important and valuable resource demonstrating the long-standing and unique culture in this area. With the absolute dating, Meo pagoda’s bell has important role in terms of researching, dating the bell itself and the other unknown-dating bronze objects and making considerable contribution to the resources for studying the Le arts.  

The Meo pagoda’s bell displayed in Thanh Hoa museum is a typical antiques of Thanh Hoa province. It got special value, providing us a lot of information about history, culture, arts, Buddhism and geographic names… in Lang Chanh administration division in the late seventeenth century to early eighteenth century.

Nghiem Thi Hang
Inventory and Conservation Department      

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