bells in South Asia
Tiger bells are from
the B and C
type and of an alternative variation of type
Tibetan Refugee market in New
Delhi several yak belts from Tibet were for sale, each with 8 to
10 tiger bells type B attached.
from the type B tiger bells, attached to yak belts as seen and the
belt given below, there is one report: a tiger bell of the smaller
an alternative variation of type A
tiger bells is reported.
to several shop owners and antique dealers in Nepal,
tiger bells of the C type are produced
until this very day in factories in Dehra Dunn (Uttar Pradesh, near
the border with Himachal Pradesh), Rajpur and possibly other places
for the Tibetan and Nepalese market,
tiger bell of the smaller type B, in a shop in Mahabalipuram (1990,
Tamil nadu), now in the author's collection. No details were known
and there are no other indications that tiger bells occur in this
area (South east India).
Dimensions: wide 3,4 cm., height 3,4 cm., side 3,2 cm., hoop
Brandeis, ethnomusicologist in Berlin, reports:
the tiger bells in 1997 inside a glass cabinet in the basement
of the Museum für Völkerkunde. I could not take
them out. But the objects in that cabinet were from India.
I could see the archive number: 103.315.' The tiger bells
were mounted on a leather strip, probably about 10 pieces,
of which 8 bells are visible in the picture
a yak or horse belt, similar to those in the Tibetan
Refugee market in New Delhi.
courtesy Hans Brandeis
Several strands of small metal sequins, strung as necklaces, with
two or three tiger bells and ordinary bells. The strands have probably
been restrung for trading purposes. Originally they were much longer
and were worn by Naga women around the upper body. The tiger bells
are of an unusual type. Type A comes closest. Age and origin are unknown.
Reported by Rinus van Huijksloot who has several of these strands
in his shop, the Nusantara Museum shop in Delft (Neth). Also
see several photographs in The Nagas, hill people of Northeast
India by Julian Jacobs, published by Thames and Hudson.
Group: Idu Mishmi
On Flickr (Internet) several photographs of an Idu
Mishmi tribesman holding a ritual object with two tiger bells
type C. These bells occur mostly in Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and possibly
The Idu Mishmi
live in the Dibang valley in Arunachal Pradsesh. The more you
move northwards in the valley, the more shamanism becomes prevalent.
The costume of the shaman is fantastic with its decorations,
tiger teeth collar and bells on the back. Men traditionally
wear a white loin cloth, a jacket with red embellishments and
a typical cane hat. Women's traditional dress is black, also
with red embellishments.
Mishmi are one of the Burmese-Tibetan groups that live in this Himalayan
state of India. They arrived in the area from Burma in three waves,
the last wave was about 500 hundred years ago. Arunachal Pradesh
is situated north of Nagaland, Assam, and shares its borders with
Bhutan in the west, Tibet in the north and China and Burma in the
In december 2016 Ms
Clare McGarva, from Aunay-en-Bazois, France, found
a small type C tiger bell in an ethno- and curioshop, Artique,
in Tetbury (UK). The shopkeeper, George Bristow told her
that he had found it in the Jodhpur area (Rajasthan). According
to him the bell is recently made. For now, no more details are
Above: the bell
from both sides, showing one or two rough representation
of Chinese characters. The hoop is rectangular, higher than
wide. The patina is very green and probably recently applied
Left: the bell
from the side showing the typical profile of tigerbells
as they are used in Nepal, Bhutan and the Himalayan states
Below: this bell
(on the left) is compared with a newly made type C bell
of the tiger bell (on the left):
width: 2,4 cm.
height (without hoop): 2,4 cm.
height (with hoop): 3,6 cm.
side: 2,8 cm.
and donated in December 2016.
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