, Hanging bell [ghanta] Enlarge 1 /1
Javanese people Hanging bell [ghanta] 13th century Place made: Java, Indonesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, bronze; casting
Dimensions: 28.4 h x 15.0 w x 15.0 d cm with chain 61 h
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1971
Accession No: NGA 71.101.15

The bell [ghanta] plays an important part in both Buddhist and Hindu religious ceremonies, particularly when tantric rituals are enacted. It is held in the left hand of the officiating priest or monk, while a thunderbolt or diamond sceptre [vajra] is manipulated with the right. The form of Javanese bells dating from 10th century, some of which have survived in use in Hindu Bali for centuries, sometimes emulates the stupa with a handle shaped like a mythical creature, to which a heavy chain was attached. 

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