Sunday, January 14, 2007


This bell has been sitting at my study table since I bought it in a souvenir shop in Busan eight years ago. It is a miniature replica of the "Divine Bell of King Seongdeok" (성덕대왕 신종, 聖德大王神鍾). According to record, the bell was made by the 35th King Gyeongdeok of the Shilla Kingdom to pray for the soul of his father, King Seongdeok.

The miniature replica bell gives a high-pitch and clear chime when hit as opposed to a low-pitch and dense sound made by bigger bell. Somehow, I feel that the chime produces by the bell has a calming effect on me. As and when I feel agitated, I will strike the bell and its resonating sound will slowly calm down my nerve. Quite therapeutic. Then again, bell chime is also said to be able to awaken the dormant consciousness.

I always associate bell chime to originate from a place far far away. A hit on the bell can break the dead silence of the night and bring about an awaken consciousness in mankind. It is no wonder that the chime of bell had been an inspiration behind some beautifully written Tang poems.

Trivia: According to Chinese mythology, the dragon-like creature found on oriental bell is known as Pu-lao (蒲牢). Pu-lao is one of the nine sons of dragon. It likes music and roaring and that sort of tell why it is associated with bell since the purpose of bell is to make sound.

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