Tilted view and lateral
Dimensions: width (front)
4,1 cm., width (side): 3 cm.,
height (with hoop): 5 cm. (without hoop): 3,8 cm
In my opinion
this bell is neither made by a Yoruba black smith, nor made in Nigeria.
On the 'foreheads' on both sides (where in less worn bells some
Chinese characters would be visible) the design has disappeared.
This indicates a long time use, possibly as an animal-bell. On one
side however the Wang character is still clearly visible. This makes
it very likely hat this bell is of Chinese origin. Explorers from
China are known to have arrived at the east coast of Africa in about
several hundreds of years AD, possibly even earlier (during the
Qin and Han dynasties and before). Through the early silk routes
(about 1000- BC) Chinese goods such as textiles arrived in ancient
Egypt. From the Tang dynasty (appr. 600 AD) and on many official
and private contacts are described in various documents. During
the Tang dynasty the lost wax process for bronze casting was used
for large scale production of bronze objects such as shamanic mirrors
and tiger bells. It is very well possible that the Chinese diplomat
and traders brought small and light objects such as textiles and
small bronze objects with them as gifts and merchandise. Most contacts
went through the east coast but traffic between the east and west
coast of Africa existed since several hundred years AD.
China's long history in Africa by Curtis Abraham, published
in NewAfrican, 2015.
by Hendrik Wittenberg in May 2018.