The ancient Chinese bell decorated by the Emperor himself
The Jingyun Bell, weighing six tons, was cast in the year 711, the second year of the Jingyun reign (710-711) in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The artifact comprises 26 bronze pieces and 32 protruding circular elements on its outside wall, properly arranged to render the bell’s deep sound. It bears a 292-character inscription written by then-Emperor Ruizong, showcasing his excellent calligraphic skills. It is also decorated with auspicious motifs and patterns, such as a crane, a lion, and swirling clouds.
The bell is preserved in a pavilion at the Xi’an Beilin Museum. Its sound has been recorded since 1983 and played by the China National Radio on New Year’s Eve every year to celebrate the coming of the Spring Festival.