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Tiger bells in Europe


Great Britain

Type A tiger bells, or closely similar, were found in two places.

Region: Wales
One crotal bell with eyes, with some similarities to the A type.

The website DetectingWales.com (http://www.detectingwales.com/index.php?topic=13645.0 ) shows a crotal bell decorated with two eyes. The object was found in January 2012, with a metal detector. Although the design is very faint, the eyes are clearly present. The other elements of the design seem to be different when compared to the classic type A tiger bell. Three pictures are presented on the page:


The lower front view shows the eyes and the 'mouth'; these are clearly
elements of a classic tiger bell.

The side view shows the typical contour of the smaller type A tiger bell.
The hoop is however larger and more rounded than the hoop
of the classic tiger bell (see also the picture below).



The front view shows design elements that differ very much from the
classic tiger bell. The 'Wang' character is missing, as well as the
curls and the Chinese characters on the 'forehead' and
the teeth around the 'mouth'.

Unfortunately no details such as dimensions or the place where the bell was found are given on the website. I have tried to contact the webmaster by registering but so far there is no follow up.

An expert consulted by the finder of the bell said the bell is probably from the 19th century and of Asian origin. How the bell arrived in Wales is unknown. The chances that there is a link with shamanism are very small.

This is one of the five archeological finds involving tiger bells; the others are from Tver, Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Reported in September 2013, by Harald Lux.


Region: Greater London; region of origin: unknown

In the mausoleum of Sir Richard Francis Burton, in Mortlake, London (UK): at least 8 to 10 classic tiger bells type A.

The mausoleum is shown in the documentary O'Hanlon's heroes, the episode on Sir Richard Burton, broadcast by VPRO Television (the Netherlands) broadcast in December 2013. We see the interior, shot through a window. A string with eight bells among which are four tiger bells, is shown.


Photograph: screen shot from the television series Redmond O'Hanlon's heroes,
the episode on Sir Richard Burton (courtesy VPRO).



The four tiger bells in close up

On the website http://godardgirl.com/?p=2071 a photograph of the inner roof is shown. We can now see four strings with bells, among them at least ten tiger bells.

Photograph courtesy Godardgirl.com

Sir Richard Burton (1821 - 1890) started his career as a captain in the British army. During his army time he was assigned to several undercover operations in a.o. Karachi, Pakistan. Later he became a diplomat and lived for some time in Damascus (Syria). He traveled extensively in the Middle East, Pakistan and India and in Africa. He was a writer and translator and was buried in England in a mausoleum modeled after a Bedouin tent. His wife wrote his biography. She writes:

With the earnings [from the sales of the biography] I am embellishing his mausoleum, and am putting up in honor of his poem Kasidah, festoons of camel bells from the desert, in the roof of the tent where he lies, so that when I open or shut the door…the tinkling of the camel bells will sound just as it does in the desert. On 22 January [1894] I am going to pass the day in it as it is my thirty-third wedding day and the bells will ring for the first time.

This text does not tell us where the strings with the bells were found or bought. Was it in Pakistan, in Syria, or in England? Also it does not tell us from what region the tiger bells come. I will try to find more information on that through the Internet.


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