|If you want to see the original bell, it is now in the Forest of Steles Museum and I have pictures of it HERE. The new bell shown above was cast during the Ming Dynasty and is over 400 years old.
They moved the Bell Tower in 1582 so that it would remain in the center of the city after the city expanded. When they did so, the old bell lost its "ring" - it went mute. They tried all sorts of things to repair it, but finally cast a new bell and retired the old.
The original bell was called the Jingyun Bell 景雲钟 and was cast in the 2nd year of the Jingyun era 景雲, 711 AD of the Tang Dynasty. It was moved to the Bell Tower when the Ming emperor built the new city walls, the Drum Tower, and the Bell Tower to establish Xi'an as a strategic defense point of the Wei River valley area.
The new bell is smaller than the Tang bell. It weighs 2.75 tons (2,500 kilograms) and is engraved with the eight trigrams or gua 卦 (guà) of Daoism.
Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010