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Five-pronged Vajra Bell (Gokorei)

Five-pronged Vajra Bell (Gokorei)

c. 1300-1333

Gilt bronze

Height: 16.7 cm (6 9/16 in.); Diameter: 7.5 cm (2 15/16 in.)

Lillian M. Kern Memorial Fund 2016.38

Fun Fact

Vajras are symbolic weapons, representing the properties of a diamond (indestructibility) and a thunderbolt (irresistible force), still used in Buddhist ceremonies today.

Description

The five prongs of this bell symbolize the Buddhist “Five Perfections”—generosity, morality, patience, perseverance, and concentration. The mouth of the bell symbolizes the “Sixth Perfection” of wisdom. The bell was used in Japanese Esoteric Buddhist rituals along with vajra pestles, or kongōsho.

See also
Collection: 
Japanese Art
Department: 
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 
Metalwork
Medium: 
Gilt bronze

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