Korean Bell of Friendship
|Korean Bell of Friendship|
|Revised Romanization||Ujeong-ui Jong|
|Designated||May 3, 1978|
The Korean Bell of Friendship (more commonly called Korean Friendship Bell) is a massive bronze bell housed in a stone pavilion in Angel's Gate Park, in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Located at the corner of Gaffey and 37th Streets, the section of the park is alternatively called the "Korean-American Peace Park" and occupies part of the former Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.
The bell was presented by the Republic of Korea to the American people to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States and to symbolize friendship between the two nations. The effort was coordinated by Philip Ahn, a Korean American actor. It was dedicated on October 3, 1976, and declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 187 in 1978.
It is modeled after the Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great of Silla (also known as the Emille Bell), cast in 771 for Bongdeok Temple and now located at the National Museum of Gyeongju. The Emille Bell is the largest bell ever cast in Korean history; both are among the largest bells in the world. The bell is made of over seventeen tons of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, lead, and phosphorus added to the alloy for tone quality. It has a diameter of 7½ feet, average thickness of 8 inches, and a height of 12 feet. The exterior surface is richly decorated in relief, featuring four pairs of figures. Each pair includes a "Goddess of Liberty" (bearing some resemblance to the Statue of Liberty) and a Seonnyeo, or Korean spirit figure, holding a Korean national symbol: a Taegeuk symbol, a branch of rose of Sharon, a branch of laurel, and a dove.
Beginning in 2010, the bell is struck five times a year: on New Year's Eve, Korean American Day (January 13), the Fourth of July, Korean Liberation Day (August 15), and Constitution Day (September 17). It was also rung on September 11, 2002, to commemorate the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The bell does not have a clapper; instead, it is sounded by striking it with a large wooden log.
The pavilion that houses the bell, known as the Belfry of Friendship, was built by Korean craftsmen over a period of ten months. Its design is traditional. It is axially symmetric, consisting of a hipped (a.k.a. "pyramidal") roof supported by twelve columns representing the Korean zodiac, each column guarded by a carved animal. The color patterning along the bell's pavilion is known in Korean as dancheong.
Access to the bell and the pavilion were restricted while a full restoration was underway in 2013 from September through December. The City of Los Angeles rededicated the Bell during a public ceremony on January 10, 2014.
The Belfrey of Friendship was featured in two scenes of the movie The Usual Suspects.
- History of the Korean Americans in Los Angeles
- Koreatown, Los Angeles
- List of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments in the Harbor area
- Bell of King Seongdeok
- The Usual Suspects
Traditional craftsmen restore Korean Friendship Bell - LA Times (December 2013)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Korean Bell of Friendship.|
- SanPedro.net: Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion — panoramic photograph and facts.
- Photo of the day for October 10, 2004 — photograph of U.S. and South Korean officials ringing the bell in Seoul on June 29, 1976; in "Stars and Stripes" newspaper.