Bronze bell at Hwagyesa Temple in Seoul

Bronze bell at Hwagyesa Temple

The Hwagyesa Bronze Bell is a bronze bell made during the late Joseon Dynasty by a famous artisan and Buddhist monk known as Sainbigu. Sainbigu was a craftsman who created bronze bells all around the country during the reign of King Sukjong.

The coating of the bell features a green patina, or tarnish which is corrosion caused by age and exposure to the weather and elements. It features no sound pipe, unique to Korea. It features a double dragon loop and a body with the rim curved slightly inward.

The upper part of the features Sanskrit inscriptions contained in double circle frames, four lotus boxes decorated with a floral design, and four memorial tablets.

The middle section features an inscription telling of the story of how the bell was made.

The lower section encircles the rim. It is decorated with fully bloomed lotus flowers and vines and characterizes the works of Sainbigu.

Pavilion where the bronze bell hangs at Hwagyesa Temple in Seoul

Pavilion where the bronze bell hangs

Similar bells, considered an important source of knowledge during this period, can be found at Sutasa Temple in Hongcheon (1670), Cheongnyongsa Temple in Anseong (1674), and Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan (1686). All were made by the same maker, Sainbigu.