Buddhist Bells In and Out of Japan, Over and Under Water


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


History of Art


This book project will demonstrate the essential but unrecognized role of large Japanese bronze Buddhist bells in the history of religious practice and international relations in Asia and beyond. Since the 7th century, bells in Japan were made of expensive material with impressive technical and design skill for use at Buddhist temples in rituals and commemoration. These bells, along with their Korean counterparts, also played a pivotal role in the history of international maritime movement and global exchange, which reaches far beyond a national narrative. Throughout Japan the abundant illustrations and stories of bells transported across the sea or sunk in bodies of water have common themes of loss, recovery, and international tension, including their removal and repatriation.