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Tiger bells in Europe


Malta

Tiger bells are of the A type.

Leonard Scicluna of LSC Metal Finishing in Qormi, Malta reports the following:

...As we are involved in metal parts restoration we encounter a lot of memorabilia. We make a lot of parts for horse owners and we frequently get these Tiger bells for chrome plating. Their owners always say that they are over a 100 years old. Over here the bells are mounted on horses as decoration. A type which I did not see on your site is a tiger bell with a back plate. I do not know if the back plate was assembled afterwards or it was original like that. Anyway, I attached a photo for you to see...

Two tiger bells fixed on back plates
Photograph: courtesy Leo Scicluna

These are clearly classic tiger bells. It does not seem very likely that the arrival of tiger bells in Malta is related to religion or shamanism, one of the important reasons why the tiger bells are present in other regions. The reason why the tiger bells arrived in Malta must be another one. This and other questions I asked Mr. Scicluna. His response:

...As we are the only place were one can chrome plate in Malta we take approx 60% of the market. In these past three years we plated between 25 and 30 tiger bells to some 12 or 13 clients, all horse enthusiasts, and these enthusiasts one can find them by the hundreds in Malta. Like I said in my previous e-mail, our clients all boast that the bells are more than 100 years old and are very proud of them... As regards to how the bells got to Malta, could it be that they were brought by the British during their occupancy of Hong Kong and Malta. Also Malta had very good ties with China in the late nineteen seventies, besides that Malta was occupied by some seven different countries...

Tiger bells attached to back plates are not (yet) reported in other places
(details of picture above). Photographs: courtesy Leo Scicluna

.Reported by Leo Scicluna, in Februray 2011.


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