Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Densho

Date:
ca. 1856
Geography:
Japan
Culture:
Japanese
Medium:
Leaded Bronze (trace of antimony)
Dimensions:
H. 14-1/4 in.; Diam. 8-1/2 in.
Classification:
Idiophone-Struck-bell-without clapper
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
89.4.1619
Not on view
In Japanese ceremonies, suspended cast iron bells are used for signaling during the prayer and for calling Buddhists to worship. In China, similar bells were employed in ensembles, where they represented the yin, or "receptive" principle, and were sounded after the beat of a large drum (yang, or "creative" element). The densho incorporates many symbolic motifs found in the Far East. The suspension loop (ryuzo) is formed by two dragon heads and a flame; the upper third contains nipples (nyu), symbols of fertility; and the barren field below (ikenomachi) provides a place for poetry or iconography. The chrysanthemum, a symbol of longevity and happiness, forms the striking surface (shuza). The densho may occasionally be heard in the kabuki theatre's off-stage ensembles.
Marking: inscription on surface
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown ; Mrs. R. R. Cross
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Asia, Gallery 27. 2. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1903, vol. II, pg. 38.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Gallery 27. 1. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1901, vol. I, pg. 38.



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