"Large Ghanta Bell With Internal Batting, Shivaite Cult, South India, Late 18th Century"Internal beating bell consisting of 2 distinct elements, the body and its handle.
The latter is surmounted by an elegant figuration, Garuda in the center of two monkeys, the three, joined hands (Hanuman?) Often represented in the Shivaite iconography.
The handle is fitted on the top of the body of the bell and the inner flap is fixed at its lower end which passes through the thickness of the bell. At two-thirds of its height, the skirt is contained in a disc, a feature found on most Hindu ritual bells.
The bottom of the skirt opens in a flared corolla. The bell and the neck were melted in bronze.
Dimensions: Total height: 29.5 cm. Width of the bell: 11 cm, weight: 915 grs. Which is a big size for this type of object.
Marks and inscriptions: Above and below this disc are engraved several rows of concentric circles.
Between the two lower ranks are written characters in Telugu, Dravidian language spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh but can be read and veiled for the most part.
Context of use: This bell is used by priests celebrating Shaivite rituals. The cult of Shiva is one of the major currents of the Hindu tradition. The rites are generally held in a temple, the priest recites shloka (verses chanted during the religious service) and waved this bell according to a precise ceremonial. The bell associated with it (Ghanta) symbolizes the knowledge of the void of all phenomena and the fugitivity of things.
The Museum of Music, Phylarmonie de Paris (city of music: 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris) keeps in its collections two Ghanta bells of lesser importance.