bells in Southeast Asia
Seven tiger bells type D, in a
bundle. Description on the catalogue card:
bells (Kai-nja-bang-tong) for horses, made of yellow brass with
an unclear ornament (a stylized head?)... Used by the Fou (tribe)
in the hinterlands of Tongkin."
Ethnological Museum, collected in 1901.
March 2010 Tom Ulbrich and Bui Kim Dinh from Vietnam
reported a tiger bell from Northern Vietnam. The bell's age was
estimated at about 1000 years by an antique dealer and expert. Due
to a technical problem the message reached us many months later.
Unfortunately contact with Mr. Ulbrich and Mr. Dinh could not be
a tiger bell type A is offered for sale by Ethnix
Tribal and African Arts . No details are given except its age:
supposedly about 100 years. The price is US $ 45,-.
January 2010 the bell was removed from the site.
The bell is
described as follows:
Antique VIETNAMESE TIGER BELL Vietnam
Type of Object: PELLET BELL
Ethnic Group: VIETNAMESE / CHINESE
Country of Origin: VIETNAM
Approximate Age: 100+ years
Dimensions: 1.5" x 1.75" x 1.25"
Weight: 2.5 ounces
Overall Condition: Used, EXCELLENT
These Tiger bells have had a history of a wide range of use and
distribution. This globular shaped bell has a pellet inside and
produces a sound when shaken. The bell has a stylized tigers
head on the surface and on the top half there is usually one or
two Chinese characters and some curved lines and floral motifs.
Bells with this design are found throughout Asia from Indonesia
and Pakistan to Siberia, where they are used as an amulets by Shamans.
The function of these bells ranges from being worn as necklaces
to being sewn onto dance costumes. I was lucky to find this one
in an antique shop in Vietnam
In an advertisement on
E-bay two tiger bells type B are offered. They are described as
Pair of bronze ("Tiger')
bells, used by Hmong shamans
They were collected in
Mai Chau, in Northern Vietnam, in the mid 20th century.
The height is 6 cm., the weight 178 grams. No further details are
by Harald Lux, in December 2011
Yao Mien (Kiem Mien)
Musée d'Avallonois, Avallon (France), an
important collection of Yao textiles, tools and religious objects
is exhibited. Among the objects are a belt with bells which is
part of a horse harness, and a box with objects needed for the
performance of certain rituals, among them a bronze bell.
Seven of the bells are tiger bells
bells seen from the left to the right (counterclockwise) the first
two bells are not clearly visible; the bells 3 and 4 are tiger
bells; 5, 6 and 7 are of a different type; 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12
are tiger bells; the upper two on the right (13 and 14) are of
a different type. All bells have a very dark patina and the light
in the room was poor. Despite the use of a flash, it was necessary
to lighten up the picture and heighten the contrast in order to
make some details of the design visible.
A box with ritual objects
the objects is one tiger bell of the smaller type B. The size
is appr. the same as the tiger bell from the Akha,
Thailand. The function of the bell is described as follows:
Servant au prêtre à rythmer une cérémonie
lors des danses ou certains passages de rituels.
Kim Meun (Quang Trang en Viet), Qua Pae Meun, 1950
d'Avallonois, Avalon, August 2012
and photographs are copyrighted,
for information please contact F.
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