Bell Set of Marquis Su of Jin: hear my ancient song
Name: Bell Set of Marquis Su of Jin | 中文名: 晋侯酥编钟
Dated to: ~850 B.C. | Culture: King Li of West Zhou Dynasty
Unearthed: 1990~1993 A.D. @ Quwo, Shanxi | Current location: Shanghai Museum
Bell Dimension: height: 52cm (biggest), 22cm (smallest)
There are inscriptions on these 16 bells, as engraved with chisel, not cast, since carving marks are obvious. A total of 355 words, the inscriptions can be put together, as a complete record that Marquises Su was mandated a crusade against barbarians on the 8th of first month of Year 33rd of King Li of Zhou (846 B.C.).
Discovery and return of looted relics
Near the Village Qu of Quwo County in Shanxi Province, where located the ancient capital of Jin State, there are nine tombs of Jin marquises and their wives. During the early 1990s, grave robbing was rampant in that region, and many precious cultural relics lost overseas.
In December 1992, Ma Cheng Yuan, the head of Shanghai Museum, found this set of 14 antique bells in a Hong Kong antique shop. At that time, many other people thought it’s fake because of its carved inscriptions. Mr. Ma is an expert on bronze wares, and he knew they are precious relics. So he bought them and mailed it back to Shanghai. Based on inscriptions he named the bell set as “Bell Set of Marquis Su of Jin.”
In early 1993, archeologists from Peking University and the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology did salvage excavations at the tombs. They found a dozen pieces of bronze wares, of which there are two inscribed bells, which were also chiseled. Their shape resemble the 14 bells of Marquis Su, inscriptions can also be put together, confirmed these 16 bells are one set out of the same tomb.
Geeeee, glad that they are eventually reunited.
[Forbidden Treasure of China Series]
This is the 9th of 64 culture heritages that the government of China forbids to exhibit abroad. The complete list is here. In Chinese.