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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.

Densho, Leaded bronze (trace of antimony), Japanese

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