This artwork is in beauty highly artistic and exceptionally delightful. The
bell is since times unknown a ritual organ held in great reverence by almost
all major religious traditions to include Indian, Greek and Christian. In
some ecclesiastical systems, as in Christianity, it is also a symbol of
clergy's rank and authority. Ringing a bell adds sanctity to an occasion
whether of birth or other kind of happiness, a prayer or a holy soul's
salvation. The bell is since long an auspicious and holy art motif and an
artefact used as gift. Patna Museum, Bihar has in its collection such 10th
century decorative bell which in all probabilities was gifted to Gandhakuti
at Kurkihar wherefrom it has been recovered. It affirms the tradition of
exchanging auspicious bells as gifts to have prevailed at least by the 10th
This bell has the resemblance of a votive stupa. The National Museum, New
Delhi has in its collection a 9th century Nalanda model of a votive stupa
and the Mainamati itself. They both have, more or less, an alike appearance.
In its model this bell greatly corresponds to them. But besides such stupa
resemblance the bell has no other Buddhist motif. It has rather carved on
it, and quite prominently, Lord Vishnu's ten incarnations, the Dasavatara,
namely, Matsyavatara, Kurmavatara, Varahavatara, Narsinghavatara,
Vamanavatara, Parashuramavatara, Ramavatara, Krishnavatara, Buddhavatara and
Kalkiavatara, which is a pure Vaishnava theme.
Below is an arabesque panel. It contains besides creepers and flowers,
various deities, including Lakshmi, Ganesha, and Saraswati, further
cementing the auspiciousness of the bell.
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