bells in East Asia
Two dance costumes.
One tiger bell type A, together
with six ordinary bells on one costume; on the other costume:
nine tiger bells type A (see illustration). The bells
are more or less similar to the bells from Kalimantan,
Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Photograph by Elisabeth den Otter, during a performance
in the Tropen Museum, Amsterdam (1988).
In a paper titled Puyuma
Bells: The Markers of Honour, Passage, and Social Status by
Lancini Jen-Hao Cheng (2010) there is an interesting description
of a kamelin, a set of seven to nine tiger bells:
consists of 7 to 9 pellet bells attached to a cloth waist belt;
although in Taiwan regarded as a set of bells, within the Hornbostel
and Sachs system, this would be classified as a set of vessel
rattles (111.13). The bells/vessels are suspended from their
apex, a metal pellet inside striking the walls of the bell/vessel,
and a slit of 3 cm by 0.4 cm in each bell/vessel amplifying the
sound. Each is inscribed with the face of a tiger and Chinese
characters for great and king (bold
by ed.) that are meant to keep evil away. The diameter of each
bell/vessel is about 2.8 cm, and each pellet is about 0.6 cm in
diameter. In the past, the kamelin were made of bronze, but nowadays
the majority are brass, a metal considered to produce a nicer
and brighter sound. The belt is about 15 cm wide, and the instrument
sounds as the player moves. The Puyuma youth, vangesaran,
use the kamelin to create a boisterous atmosphere in ceremonies.
youth with kamelins around the waist
Photograph: courtesy Lancini Jen-Hao Cheng
In this paragraph the
author states that in the past the bells were made of bronze but
nowadays are made of brass because the sound is better. This suggests
that the bells are made locally. This would be the second indication
(January 2011) of production of these bells outside the China-Manchuria
region. The first indication (December 2010) came from Ilchi,
leader of the Mongolian/Chinese popgroup Hanggai
who bought his bundles of tiger bells in South Mongolia where they
were locally made.
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