List of heaviest bells

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Following is a list of the heaviest bells known to have been cast, and the period of time during which they held that title.

Heaviest functioning bell in the world[edit]

The title of most massive functioning bell in the world has been held chronologically by:

Year lb tons kg Bell Fate
732 96,000 48 43,545 To-dai-ji Temple Bell Surpassed
1484 655,000 327.5 297,103 Great Bell of Dhammazedi Sunk during transport
1602 96,000 48 43,545 To-dai-ji Temple Bell Surpassed
1633 148,000 74 67,132 Chion-in Temple Bell Surpassed
1810 195,000 97.5 88,451 Mingun Bell Functioning bell
1839 148,000 74 67,132 Chion-in Temple Bell Surpassed
1896 195,000 97.5 88,451 Mingun Bell Surpassed
1902 251,000 125.5 113,852 Shitennō-ji Temple Bell Recycled for war
1942 195,000 97.5 88,451 Mingun Bell Surpassed
2000 255,736 127.6 116,000 Bell of Good Luck Incumbent

The Great Bell of Dhammazedi[edit]

At approximately 300 tons, the Great Bell of Dhammazedi is the largest bell to have existed in recorded history.[1] Cast in 1484 by King Dhammazedi of Burma, this bell was located at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar). The bell was said to be twelve cubits (6.276 m) high and eight cubits (4.184 m) wide. Click here to see a drawing of the bell as it appeared while still at the Shwedagon Pagoda.

The Great Bell of Dhammazedi remained at the Shwedagon Pagoda as the heaviest functioning bell in the world until 1602. That year, Portuguese warlord and mercenary Philip de Brito removed it and attempted to carry it by a specially constructed raft down the Yangon River to his stronghold of Thanlyin (later known as Syriam). However, the ship carrying the bell sank at the confluence of the Yangon and Bago rivers. The Dhammazedi Bell remains buried to this day at that location, possibly well-preserved, beneath some 25 feet (7.6 m) of sediment. Numerous attempts have been made to locate and recover the bell, thus far without success.[2][3]

So while the Great Bell of Dhammazedi might indeed be the heaviest bell in the world, it must be disqualified from consideration as such, until it has been recovered and restored to a functional status.

The Chion-in Temple Bell[edit]

Cast in 1633, the 74-ton Chion-in Temple Bell, located in Kyoto, Japan, held the title of heaviest functioning bell in the world until 1810.[4]

From March 1839 until March 1896, the Mingun Bell was not functional due to the fact that it was not hanging freely from its shackles. During this period, the Chion-in Temple Bell regained its former title.[4]

The Mingun Bell[edit]

Main article: Mingun Bell

Cast in 1808, the 90-ton Mingun Bell in Mingun, Sagaing Division, Burma became the heaviest functioning bell in the world from its suspension in 1810 until 23 March 1839. On that date, it was knocked off its supports by a large earthquake. Click here to see a photograph of the Mingun Bell as it appeared in the late 1800s.

The Mingun Bell was resuspended in March 1896 by a team of men from the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.[5] The Mingun Bell was again the world's heaviest functioning bell from its resuspension in 1896 until 1902.

The Mingun Bell regained its status as the heaviest functioning bell in the world in 1942.

The Shitennō-ji Temple Bell[edit]

In 1902, the newly-cast 114-ton Shitennō-ji Temple Bell was hung in Osaka, Japan.[6] The Shitennō-ji Temple Bell reigned as the heaviest functioning bell in the world from that year until 1942, when it was melted down for its metal to assist with the then-ongoing World War II effort.[6]

The Bell of Good Luck[edit]

Cast on New Year's Eve 2000, the Bell of Good Luck is located in the Foquan Temple in Pingdingshan, Henan, China.[7][8] The bell weighs 116 metric tons and it is 810.8 cm (318 in) in height and 511.8 cm (201 in) in diameter.[7][8] The Bell of Good Luck has therefore claimed the title of heaviest functioning bell in the world since its construction in 2000, up to the present date.

The Tsar Bell[edit]

Main article: Tsar Bell

The 216-ton Russian Tsar Bell (also known as the Tsar Kolokol III) on display on the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin is the heaviest bell known to exist in the world today.[9] However, a very large piece broke off from the Tsar Bell during a fire which engulfed the tower the bell was intended to be hung in, so this irreparably damaged bell has never been suspended or rung. The Tsar Bell cannot be considered as the heaviest functioning bell in the world due to its inability to serve as a percussion instrument. Rather, it may be considered to be the largest bell-shaped sculpture in the world.

Existing bells[edit]

Bells weighing 50000 lbs (25 tons) or more:

Name of bell (or edifice containing bell) Location Weight (lbs) Year Cast Manufacturer or Foundry Notes
Tsar Bell Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia 433,356 pounds (196,567 kg) 1735 Ivan Feodorovich Motorin [10]
Bell of Good Luck Foquan Temple, Fodushan Scenic Area, Pingdingshan, Henan, China 255,200 pounds (115,800 kg) 2000 Tianrui Group currently the heaviest functioning bell in the world[7][8][11]
Mingun Bell Mingun, Myanmar 195,000 pounds (88,000 kg) 1808 unknown [11]
Tsarsky Kolokol Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 158,400 pounds (71,800 kg) 2004 Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia [10]
Chion-in Temple Bell Kyoto, Japan 148,000 pounds (67,000 kg) 1633 unknown [4]
Great Uspensky Bell (also known as Great Assumption Bell) Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia 144,452 pounds (65,522 kg) 1817 Yakov Zavyalov and Rusinov [10]
To-dai-ji Temple Bell Nara, Japan 96,000 pounds (44,000 kg) 732 unknown [11]
Yongle Bell Da Zhong Si (Great Bell Temple), Beijing, China 93,000 pounds (42,000 kg) ca. 1420 unknown [11]
Name unknown Moscow, Russia 88,000 pounds (40,000 kg) 1600 Andrey Chokhov [10]
Tharrawaddy Min Bell Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar 84,000 pounds (38,000 kg) 1841 unknown [11]
Gotenba Bell Toki no Sumika Park, Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan 79,750 pounds (36,170 kg) 2006 Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry [11][12]
Đại hồng chung Bai Dinh Pagoda, Gia Vien, Ninh Binh, Vietnam 79,336 pounds (35,986 kg) 2007 Nguyễn Văn Sở, Huế, Vietnam [13]
Blagovestnik (also known as Firstborn) Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 78,250 pounds (35,490 kg) 2002 Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia [10]
Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery Zvenigorod, Moscow Oblast, Russia 77,000 pounds (35,000 kg) 2003 Vera LLC, Shilova, Voronezh, Russia [10][14]
Yuriev Monastery Veliky Novgorod, Novgorod Oblast, Russia 75,837 pounds (34,399 kg) unknown [10]
World Peace Bell Newport, Kentucky, U.S. 73,381 pounds (33,285 kg) 1998 Fonderie Paccard [15] Largest swinging bell in the world
Kazansky Monastery Tambov, Tambov Oblast, Russia 72,226 pounds (32,761 kg) unknown [10]
Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery Kirillov and Belozersk, Vologda Oblast, Russia 72,226 pounds (32,761 kg) unknown [10]
Saint Isaac's Cathedral Saint Petersburg, Russia 67,191 pounds (30,477 kg) mid-19th century unknown [10]
Torzhestvennyj Bell Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, Russia 59,749 pounds (27,102 kg) 1878 unknown [10]
Evangelist (bell) Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 59,400 pounds (26,900 kg) 2002 Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia [10]
Saint Sophia Cathedral Veliky Novgorod, Novgorod Oblast, Russia 58,286 pounds (26,438 kg) 1659 unknown [10]
St. Petersglocke Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany 52,800 pounds (23,900 kg) 1923 Heinrich Ulrich [16]
Sysoi Assumption Cathedral in Rostov, Rostov-Velikij, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia 52,000 pounds (24,000 kg) 1689 Flor Terentyev [10][17]
Maha Ganda Bell, (also known as the Singu Min Bell) Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar 50,600 pounds (23,000 kg) 1779 unknown [11][18]

Destroyed or lost bells[edit]

Bells weighing 50000 lbs (25 tons) or more, no longer in existence (lost or destroyed):

Name of bell (or edifice containing bell) Location Weight (lbs) Year Cast Manufacturer or Foundry Notes
Great Bell of Dhammazedi Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar 655,000 pounds (297,000 kg) 1484 unknown submerged in the Bago River in 1608; may be recoverable[11]
Shitennō-ji Temple Bell Osaka, Japan 251,000 pounds (114,000 kg) 1902 unknown destroyed 1942[11]
Tsarsky Kolokol Bell (aka ‘’Trotzkoi Bell’’) Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 144,452 pounds (65,522 kg) 1748 unknown destroyed 1930[10]
Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery Zvenigorod, Moscow Oblast, Russia 76,767 pounds (34,821 kg) 1667 unknown destroyed 1941[10]
Godunov Bell (also known as Old Assumption Bell, or Resurrection Bell) Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 66,809 pounds (30,304 kg) ca. 1600 Andrey Chokhov destroyed 1701[10]
Kaiserglocke Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany 61,160 pounds (27,740 kg) 1874 Andreas Hamm destroyed 1918[16]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ World's Three Biggest Bells
  2. ^ Largest Bell under water
  3. ^ Mike Hatcher
  4. ^ a b c Chion-in Temple, Kyoto
  5. ^ Bird, George W (1897). Wanderings in Burma, pages 318–319. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd.
  6. ^ a b Price, Percival (1983), Bells and Man, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 264–273 (App. A: An historical survey of bells around the world) 
  7. ^ a b c Fodushan Scenic Area:The Bell of Good Luck
  8. ^ a b c The Bell of Good Luck: the largest working bell in the world
  9. ^ Slobodskoy, Archpriest Seraphim (1996), "Bells and Russian Orthodox Peals", The Law of God, Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, p. 624, ISBN 0-88465-044-8 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Great Bells of Russia
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Great Oriental Bells of Asia and the Pacific Rim
  12. ^ Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry:Gotenba Bell
  13. ^ http://vnexpress.net/gl/xa-hoi/2010/02/3ba19017/
  14. ^ 'Most sonorous' bell of all Russia is recast (35 tons)
  15. ^ Paccard Bell Foundry
  16. ^ a b Great bells of Europe by weight
  17. ^ Photographs of Sysoi
  18. ^ Click here to see a photograph of the Maha Ganda Bell as it appeared, circa 1897.

External links[edit]