The Metal Bell in Beijing

The magnificent architecture of bell-tower in Beijing was built for very heavy bell, which is very alike the one I visit in my Xian tour. So, making a bell of fine quality is especially important. The two existing big bells were all cast in Yongle reign, Ming Dynasty; their sizes could compare with Yongle Huayan Big Bell in big Bell Temple.

The Metal Bell

It was cast in 18th year of Yongle reign, Ming Dynasty, about 4.2 meters high; its diameter is 2.4 meters; its mouth of bell body is 0.17 meters in thickness; its weigh is about 25 tons. Since the bell-tower was completed, it had been hanged in the building; afterward, because the voice of the metal bell was not enough loud and clear, it was replaced by another new one, and it was removed to the outside. In my Beijing Xian tour, Iwas surprised to find that this bell should appear at the same time with the buildings of the palaces, the temples, the city walls, the drums and etc. Yongle moved the capital to Beijing; before that, it had got ready for a long time, but the projects were vast and numerous, the capital palace and temples were the most important, and the bell had to be accomplished at the time of declaring capital city; the materials and were short at that time, so just 25-ton metal hell was cast. However, the mission was completed. Along with Yongle Dynasty being more stabile, by way of the matter of “ governs according to time, voice connects with policies” in the capital city, it cannot but be advanced on quality of the material, increased on solidity and weight; so, a much better bronze bell on quality was cast. Since the metal bell was replaced, it had been put besides the bell tower wall, and sleeping there deeply for 500 years. For protecting the most valuable weight cultural relic in Beijing’ city phylogeny, it has been moved to the Ancient Bell Museum in Big-bell Temple in 1983 for preserving and displaying.