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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Thailand : Ayutthaya Bronze Temple Bell
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Ayutthaya Bronze Temple Bell - X.0230
Origin: Thailand
Circa: 16 th Century AD to 18 th Century AD
Dimensions: 33" (83.8cm) high x 15" (38.1cm) wide
Collection: Asian
Medium: Bronze


Location: United States
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Description
The establishment of the new kingdom of Ayutthaya in the middle of the 14th century and the change of the political center of Thai power from Sukhothai to Ayutthaya marked the beginning of a new era of great cultural prosperity. From the capital city of Ayutthaya located at the confluence of three rivers (the Chao Phraya, the Pasak, and the Lopburi) the kingdom of Ayutthaya dominated Menam Basin for over four centuries. However, it is clear that this strategic geographical and economical site had been settled by an ancient community, long before King Ramathihodi I traditionally founded the city. Ramathihodi I was a renowned warrior and lawmaker. Under his leadership, and under his immediate successors, the kingdom rapidly expanded north towards Sukhothai and east towards the Khmer capital of Angkor Wat, which they managed to seize for a brief interval. Under royal patronage, Buddhism flourished and Ayutthaya became an important Buddhist center. The rulers of this dynasty, like the rulers of the Sukhothai Kingdom, patronized cultural and religious intercourse between Sri Lanka and Thailand and encouraged and supported the development and propagation of Sihala Buddhism in Thailand. Centuries of battles with the Burmese would eventually culminate in the sacking and burning of Ayutthaya in 1767, thus ending one of the most prosperous and culturally influential periods in Thai history.

In Buddhist art, bells are often found in tandem with vajra lightning bolts. In the diminutive form, they serve as ritualistic instruments. Bells are symbolic of sound, the creative word, and the vibrations generated by the repetition of a mantra. This large bells would have once hung inside the confines of an Ayutthaya temple. Considering the expense of the bronze and the beauty of the artistry, we can assume that the temple would have been as impressive as the bell is. The echoing drone of this bell would have once filled the temple, calling the monks to meditate. - (X.0230)

 

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