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Zhong is a generic name for Chinese clapperless bells which appear elliptical in cross-section and feature a concave mouth of opening at the lower end. This beautiful and unique form helps to generate two distinct pitches when the bell is struck.A detail found on many Chinese bells are nine mei, or nipples, grouped in three rows of three. The mei likely had symbolic meaning; the number nine is auspicious in Chinese cosmology and frequently signified the emperor. The mei also appear to play an important part in the acoustics of the bells. Experiments suggest that they clarify the tone by shaping the vibratory patterns of the bell's surface, helping to stabilize and define the bell's two distinct fundamental pitches. This example is a late nineteenth century reproduction of an ancient bell.

Description: Clapperless, domeless, asymmetrical, elliptical bell with convex sides, elliptical mouth with central upward arch; front and back join at a ridge (xian) and each side ornamented with an upper and lower section, sixteen nipples (mei) arranged in three rows on the upper left and right are separated by an unadorned delineated space, the lower section with scroll work (clouds); flat, closed upper surface with central handle (yong). (J. Kenneth Moore, 2001)

Zhong, Bronze, shellac, Chinese

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