CHINE - Epoque KANGXI (1662 - 1722) Gilded bronze bianzhong ritual bell, with re…
Description

CHINE - Epoque KANGXI (1662 - 1722)

Gilded bronze bianzhong ritual bell, with relief decoration of two five-clawed dragons, their scales finely chased, in flight over foaming waves in pursuit of the flaming pearl, alternating with two rectangular cartouches, one containing the inscription "Yi Ze", the other the inscription "Kang Xi Bing Shen Nian Zhi" corresponding to the date 1716. The lower part features a frieze of stylized discs and clouds, the upper part a band of clouds, the handle depicting two dragons standing side by side, opening their mouths to reveal sharp fangs, their foreheads surmounted by two fine twisted horns. H. 21 cm. Diam. 12 cm Provenance: de Semallé family, brought back from China by Robert de Semallé (1849-1936) in 1884. Reference: a similar bell inscribed "Huang Zhong" from the de Semallé family sold on December 16, 2019 is reproduced in M. Paleologue, L'art chinois, Maison Quantin, Paris, 1887, p.80 CHINA - KANGXI Period (1662 - 1722) Ritual gilt bronze bianzhong bell, cast in high relief with two five-clawed dragons, their scales finely chiseled, chasing the flaming pearl above the waves, alternating with two rectangular panels inscribed Yi Ze for one and Kang Xi Bing Shen Nian Zhi on the other, corresponding to 1716. On the lower part, a frieze of discs patterns and stylized clouds. On the upper part, another frieze of small clouds. The handle shaped as a pair of dragons, standing firmly on their legs, their open mouths revealing sharp fangs, two thinly twisted horns on their foreheads. 清康熙丙申年御制 铜鎏金交龙纽云龙纹 "夷则 "编钟 The Zhou Li, a book compiled between 500 and 200 BC, during the period of the Warring Kingdoms, lists eight materials for instruments in Chinese music: metal, stone, terracotta, leather, strings, wood, double gourd and bamboo. Among these materials, stone and metal occupy the most important places, and within metal, only one instrument stands out: the bianzhong bell. Bianzhong bells are not instruments played alone, but as a carillon. The oldest sets found date from the Western Zhou dynasty, around 3000 BC, and comprise three bells. Sets of nine bells dating from the Spring and Autumn period (770 - 403 BC) have also been found. The largest set unearthed in Chinese history is that in the tomb of Zeng hou yi, with sixty-five bells, dated between 777 and 733 BC. Archaic bianzhong chimes feature an indefinite number of bells, and these bells vary in size. The notes produced depend on the size of the bell: the smaller the bell, the higher the sound. What's more, each bell produces two different sounds, depending on whether it is struck from the front or the side. This makes it possible to obtain an infinite number of different notes, depending on the chimes and bells used. When the Qing dynasty was established in 1644, the new rulers decided to rely on music to establish their domination over the long term. As the emperors were Manchu, their customs differed from those of the Han majority who made up their empire. To establish a harmonious dynasty, the emperors encouraged refined court music inspired by Han music, which they codified and disseminated to unify the empire. During the reigns of the Kangxi (1661-1722), Yongzheng (1722-1735) and Qianlong (1735-1796) emperors, a large number of musical instruments of the highest quality were produced, and the imperial orchestra now numbered over two hundred musicians. Of the eight materials in which these instruments are made, metal is both the most precious and the most resistant: bianzhong bells have therefore come down to us, unlike the more fragile instruments, which have not withstood the ravages of time and war. In September 1713, the Kangxi emperor ordered a group of musicians, technicians and musicologists to meet at a college in Beijing, in order to establish the range of the empire's music. At the end of 1713, the Lu lü zheng yi, a compilation containing the new scale, was published, the emperor having himself fixed the tones that make it up. This was the first musical system officially established in the Chinese empire. The scale consists of twelve notes, representing the twelve months of the year, plus four flats, for a total of sixteen notes. The notes are alternately yang (male principle) for the odd notes, and yin (female principle) for the even notes.

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CHINE - Epoque KANGXI (1662 - 1722)

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