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Tiger bells in Central Asia


One tiger bell is reported, of the Alternative type, with elements of type A, type B and type C.

In august 2014 Anton Shatohin from Almaty, capital of Kazakhstan, reports the find of a tiger bell of alternative type. He discovered the bell using a metal detector. In the immediate surroundings of the bell several objects of different age were found.

The site where the bell was found was described by Mr Shatohin as follows: :

I found the bell on the edge of a mountain gorge near Almaty City, about 1800 meters above sea level. The bell and the other objects were together in a small area, on a depth of about 20 to 25 cm. That is the maximum depth for all objects found here because of the stone stratum that begins at a depth of about 20 to 40 cm.

The two faces of the bell, the rather thick relief is also seen on the
C-type tiger bells from Nepal and Tibet.

The two sides of the bell, the shape is that of the B type bell.

A better view of the faces on both sides of the bell.

Dimensions of the bell:
wide 3,8 cm., high 3,5 cm. side 3,8 cm., hoop 1,1 cm., weight 28,5 grams

This Chinese character is the Shi-character. It has several meanings: generation, world, life time, century, age. Below is a graphic representation of the character:

The Shi character

The other characters are either too faded or it is impossible to recognise them

Bronze objects found in the immediate vicinity of ther tiger bell

A bronze object, possibly a stamp or seal. The figure represents an animal (bird?) but it could also very well be a stylized character, possibly Chinese. Its age is for now unknown.

A bronze object, probably a buckle. The design seems to be a floral motif. The origin is possibly either Mongol or Chinese. It's age could therefore go back to the 15th, or even the 13th century.

The back of the same buckle. The casting is rough which could indicate that it was produced by a rural and/or nomadic people.

A fragment of a small bronze axe.
No further information.

Three bronze spearheads;
no further information

For now it is difficult to come to any definite conclusions on the origin and age of the tiger bell. The mixture of elements in the design and shape of the tigerbell is confusing. We must find out more about the other objects to see if they can be linked to the tiger bell. If there is a link the bell could be very old: dating could go back to the 13th to 15th century bringing it into the influence of the Mongol Invasions and connect the bell to the tiger bells from Tver.

This is one of the five archeological finds involving tiger bells, the other finds are in Tver (Russia), Wales (Great Britain,) Indonesia and Vietnam.

Reported in August 2014; all photographs on this page: courtesy Mr. Anton Shatohin.

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