Height: 25 in. (63.5 cm)
Diameter: 11 in. (27.9 cm)
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Not on view
In Japanese ceremonies, suspended cast-iron bells are used for signaling during prayer and for calling Buddhists to worship. The densho, or hansho, 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), a symbol of fertility, and the barren field below (ikenomachi) provides a place for poetry or iconography. The chrysanthemums, a symbol of longevity and happiness, form the striking surface (shuza). This densho, intended for trade, has an additional element—a dramatic confrontation between dragon and eagle—that is atypical. The densho is occasionally heard in the kabuki theater's off-stage ensembles.
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
"Musical Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1978), Vol. XXXV, No. 3, pg. 30-31, ill.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Asia, Gallery 27. 2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1903, vol. II, pg. 38.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Gallery 27. 1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1901, vol. I, pg. 38.
Date: late 18th centuryMedium: Leaded bronze with trace of antimony Material analyzed by Conservation Department, 20 August 1976. Tested by energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectometryAccession: 89.4.1681On view in:Not on view