bells in Southeast Asia
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The majority of the tiger
bells is of the B type, two are
of an alternative B type; some tiger bells are of the
wide 4,9 cm., high 4,7 cm., side 5 cm., hoop 1 cm.
In handicraft-, home
industry- and antique shops, very many large type
B tiger bells are for sale. In one shop I came across a basket
full of these bells that had been painted gold. The shop owners
did not know anything about the origin, buying the bells in bulk
from traders 'from the north'.
I asked about their use, shop people pointed at two large bells
(diameter about 10 cm.) with tiger heads (but not in the style of
the tiger bells), used as door knobs (1985).
Several examples reported and donated by among others Hendrik
Wittenberg, Arie Jurling.
painted tiger bell, type B
Dimensions: wide 4,3 cm. high: 4 cm. side 4,3 cm. hoop 1 cm.
One tiger bell, probably type A
, on a photograph (title of the publication
unknown) of the facade of a house with four or five large phalluses
made of wood, probably during a festival. The phalluses are decorated
with garlands of flowers.
On the festival
and the wooden phalluses, M. Fisher comments (January '96):
these phalluses possibly be from a 'boon bon fei' festival, or a
rocket festival? These are held in the beginning of the rainy season,
in hopes of ensuring good rains and therefore good rice crops. The
festival is mostly an Isan (East Thailand) cultural thing that was
carried there from Laos. The particular one I was at occurred about
10-20 miles from Mahasarakham.
Left bell: wide 3,7 cm., high 3,2 cm., side 2,8 cm., hoop 0,9
Right bell: wide: 3,3 cm., high: 3 cm., side: 2,5 cm., hoop: 0,9
bells type A, one roughly made, used
as animal bells. The roughly made bell (left) was said to come from
Burma (collected in 1986).
Dimensions: wide 4,1 cm. high 3,9 cm. side 4,3 cm. hoop 1,2
type B tiger bell, tied to a belt,
probably used for a dog. The belt was said to come from Burma (collected
The Karen and the Akha use both A
and B type bells as animal bells.
The idea that human beings would wear these bells was, according to
the shopkeeper, unthinkable. Small type
B bells from the Akha were sold in pairs.
Dimensions: wide 4,6 cm., high 4 cm., side 3,7 cm. hoop 1,2
size and shape of a B type bell, but the design is different (see:
Alternatives). The tiger face is there but the decorations seem
to be engraved instead of in high relief. No details were available.
Compare this bell with some bells
from Nepal on a shaman's chain.
a ethnic and curio shop in Chang Mai, in 2000.
from 'Peoples of the Golden Triangle' (1984) in the chapter on domestic
prized by groups with strong Chinese ties, are very useful for
difficult mountain trails. Chinese style bells and harnesses
From the collection of Prof. Ovidiu Oana: one Alternative,
very small tiger bell from Thailand.
courtesy Prof. Ovidiu Oana
LiaoDy Charm Pendant "Tiger Caput Small bell"
Bronze tiger bell type A (with Wang symbol)
- Bell Hanger: 0,5 cm; 0,197 inches;
- Ø1: 2,0 cm; 0,787 inches;
- Ø2: 1,5 cm; 0,590 inches;
- Country of origin: Thailand
Acquisition as antique from Romania.
name of the bell is intriguing: prof. Oana calls the bell
a LiaoDy Charm Pendant. The abbreviation LiaoDy possibly
means that the bell is from the Liao dynasty, as is another
bell from the collection of prof. Oana. The bell is an
alternative because of the 'nose'. In this picture the 'nose'
is not clearly visible. In another
example details are much clearer.
2010, by Prof. Oana.
On E-bay, in December
2011 two tiger bells of an alternative type B were for sale.
The dealer calls them 'demon bells'.
first bell is 6,3 cm high, the diameter is 4,9 cm. The weight
is also given: 125 grams.
the forehead we see a decoration of possibly Burmese characters.
The design is clearly based on the classic tiger bell type A.
we see a side view of the bell
which clearly demonstrates that the
bell is type B
the other side we also see several characters, less clear
than the characters in the first picture
The second bell is 6
cm. high, the diameter is 4,6 cm. The weight is also given: 95 grams.
shape is that of a type B tiger bell; the design is a variation
the type B tiger bell.
Reported by Harald
Lux, December 2011
or continue to the next report
and photographs are copyrighted,
for information please contact F. de
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