Tibetan Hanging Bells

Another quality of metal, its ability to resonate sound, contributes to the creation of both decorative and utilitarian objects.  From the ring of a sword blade, to the pure tones of finely tuned bells or the hum of singing bowls, the resonance of metal objects is a reflection of fine craftsmanship.

These three Himalayan Singing Bowls, as you see them here, were never intended to be hung in this manner. Presumably, they were strung upside-down after they came into the posession of Henry LeGran Cannon, who then donated them to the museum. Originally, these objects would have been instruments associated with meditation, to be held in the left hand and played with the right by running the striker around the edge of the bowl. The sound produced would be a sustained reverberation of very particular tonal quality based on the size and shape of each bowl.

(Curated by Courtney Lynch)


The blade of this Zanzibari sword is European in origin, perhaps German. Zanzibari swords are famous for their incorporation of European blades and Arab handles. The stars and crescent moon on the blade may be the mark of a family of German swordmakers by the name of Schimmelbusch, but the intricate designs on the handle reflect Zanzibari decorative metalworking traditions as well.

(Curated by Jessica Rozek)