The Jack Daulton Collection
Antique & Ethnographic Art

elephant bell, 

Khmer, 12th cent.,



elephant bell, in the form of a stylized lotus

bronze body enclosing an iron ball

height 9 1/2 in. (not including stand), diameter 7.5 in. at widest part

Khmer Civilization (Cambodia, Thailand, Laos)

late 12th - early 13th century 


Christie's, Amsterdam, circa 1992, at which auction acquired by the present owner, Jack Daulton


This distinctive bronze bell is in the form of a stylized lotus bud.  The sides of the bell are distinguished by two projecting flange-like horizontal rings. Inside the bell, a loose, iron, spherical pellet serves as a rattle, in the manner of a large jingle bell.

Bells of this type can be seen in the relief carvings on the sandstone walls of Khmer temples, hung around the necks of elephants, usually war elephants.

A similar, but more ornate, bell is illustrated and described in Emma C. Bunker and Douglas Latchford, Adoration and Glory: The Golden Age of Khmer Art (Chicago: Art Media Resources, 2004), pp. 360-361, ills. 129a and 129b: "This ornate bronze bell was created to hang around the neck of an elephant.  It has an attachment ring on the top that is surrounded by lotus petals.... The bell has no clapper but a loose bronze pellet inside that acts as a rattle when the elephant moves.  Two prominent ridges projecting from the surface serve to keep the main body of the bell from touching the elephant's skin and dulling its tone.  The bell cleft has resulted in two triangular cusps and two rounded cusps that have decorative borders. ...  Bells are ... shown hanging from necks of elephants depicted in numerous Khmer bas-reliefs at Angkor, and on elephants represented in Khmer twelfth-century ceramics."  See also Madeleine Giteau and D. Gueret, Khmer Art. The Civilisations of Angkor (Paris: ASA edition,1997), p.153; and George Coedès, Bronzes Khmers, Ars Asiatica V (Paris, 1923), pl. XLV.4. 


view of top of bell:
The Daulton Collection