, Hanging bell [ghanta] Enlarge 1 /1
Javanese people Hanging bell [ghanta] 12th-14th century Place made: Singasari, East Java, Java, Indonesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, bronze; casting
Dimensions: 27.0 h x 14.0 w x 14.0 d cm with chain 73.0 h cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1971
Accession No: NGA 71.101.14

The bell (ghanta) plays an important part in both Buddhist and Hindu religious ceremonies, particularly when tantric rituals are enacted. It is rung with the left hand of the officiating priest or monk, while a thunderbolt or diamond sceptre (vajra) is held in the right. Ancient Javanese bells have remained in use in Hindu Bali for centuries. Many of these bells have ornamental handles, sometimes depicting mythical lions and composite creatures.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label