Bronze Temple Bell

   Cast Bronze Temple Bell (detail)
  Temple Bell with Nandi or Bull motif (detail)

Worship at any Hindu temple here or in India and you will be immediately thrown into a dynamic world of ritual actions, all designed to create a divine state – a state of pure communion between the deity and the devotee. One essential ritual element is sound. Sacred verses are chanted, songs are sung, and bells are rung; and when it comes to ritual tools, bells are the most important.

 19th c. Cast Bronze Temple Bell (detail)   
19th c. Cast Bronze Temple Bell

Featured is a temple bell from Tamil Nadu, one of India’s 28 states and a land known for its monumental, ancient Hindu temples. When this bell was rung its sound was meant to convey the mystical Sanskrit sound known as OM. Listen to this bell and you immediately know you are hearing a sacred incantation, an invitation to something divine.

The top of the bell depicts Nandi, the mount of the Hindu god Shiva, and around its base is an inscription. It likely came from a temple dedicated to Shiva worship, but where it came from is less important than the sound it makes. Ring it and listen closely. As the sound fades it invites you to ring it again and again so its haunting voice may carry you to someplace heavenly.

The British Museum has a strikingly similar Hindu temple bell with a Nandi, or Bull motif.

(Call to inquire)  

Bronze Temple Bell