Five-pronged Vajra Bell (Gokorei)

early 1300s

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

The five prongs of this bell symbolize the Buddhist “Five Perfections”—generosity, morality, patience, perseverance, and concentration. The mouth of the bell symbolizes the “Sixth Perfection” of wisdom. The bell was used in Japanese Esoteric Buddhist rituals along with vajra pestles, or kongōsho.

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  • Title: Five-pronged Vajra Bell (Gokorei)
  • Date Created: early 1300s
  • Physical Dimensions: height: 16.7 cm (6 9/16 in.); Diameter: 7.5 cm (2 15/16 in.)
  • Provenance: The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, 2016-present
  • Type: Metalwork
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/2016.38
  • Medium: gilt bronze
  • Fun Fact: Vajras are symbolic weapons, representing the properties of a diamond (indestructibility) and a thunderbolt (irresistible force), still used in Buddhist ceremonies today.
  • Department: Japanese Art
  • Culture: Japan, Kamakura period (1185-1333)
  • Credit Line: Lillian M. Kern Memorial Fund
  • Collection: Japanese Art
  • Accession Number: 2016.38

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