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Cannon made of Bell metal at Malik-e-Maidan, Bijapur.

Bell metal is a hard alloy used for making bells. It is a form of bronze, usually approximately 3:1 ratio of copper to tin (78% copper, 22% tin). Bell metal ore is a sulfide of tin, copper, and iron; and the mineral stannite.

Contents

Usage

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Utensils

In India, in the states of West Bengal and Orissa, it is called kansa and is used for cooking and eating utensils, with Balakati near Bhubaneswar most famous for this craft.

Bells

Most commonly, and as per its colloquial name, bell metal was used for bells.

In Russia, church bells are commonly cast with a unique mixture of copper and tin, often with silver added, to produce their unique sonority and resonance, mastered early in Russian Christian history.[1]

Cannon

Bell metal was used to cast many early Spanish, Portuguese and Malay[nb 1] cannon, most notably the Javanese cannon known erroneously as lantaka[nb 2]. In Java, bell metal mixtures including tin were used not only for the manufacture of figurines, objet d'art, sculptures and household goods for the wealthy, they were employed for the gongs, saron, demung and numerous other struck glockenspiel-like instruments of the Javanese gamelan ensemble. This material was also adopted by the Javanese influenced cultures of Thailand, Khmer and Myanmar. Bell metal is particularly prized for its excellent sonorous qualities, also found in bell metal cannons which produce a distinct, loud ring when fired.[2]

The Javanese lantaka was first cast in bell metal under an Empu of the early Majapahit Empire and spread into the surrounding islands of the Nusantara, Javanese skill in gunsmithing and cannon-founding affording military dominance over the surrounding area. Later, disaffected smiths and noble entourages emigrating from Java brought these cannon-founding skill to Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Myanmar[3][4]. When Ternate was captured by the Spanish, they were astounded to find over 3000 very finely cast bell metal cannon in the walled compound, although humorously to the Spaniards these were tied upright to veranda poles, used as phallic-lingam household decorations rather than weapons.[2]. The Spanish and Portuguese were equally astounded to find their European bronze cannon offerings to the Javanese rejected as inferior in quality, as they rightly were.[5]

After the Dutch victories, Javanese smithed cannons of Makassar, Ternate, and the surrounding islands were taken as reparations, considered by the Dutch as made of bronze superior to their own, and subsequently melted down and recast in Dutch standard calibres and bores.[6][7]

Culturally, Javanese bronze cannons and their regional derivatives were traditionally part of a dowry, and offering a poor quality cast bronze cannon was a supreme insult. Brunei and Malaysia retain the tradition of a token cannon as dowry for weddings, and many celebrations are opened with a celebratory shot.

Notes

  1. ^ a dated misleading term which refers geographically to the region spanning from the Thailand Peninsular through to the Philippines
  2. ^ a colloquial term, the correct term is meriam or durbus

References

  1. ^ Slobodskoy, Archpriest Seraphim (1996), "Bells and Russian Orthodox Peals", The Law of God, Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, p. 625, ISBN 0-88465-044-8 
  2. ^ a b Michael W. Charney, Southeast Asian warfare, 1300-1900 Brill, 2004 ISBN 9004142401: 319 pages
  3. ^ Jean Gelman Taylor, Indonesia: Peoples and Histories: Yale University Press: 2004: ISBN 0300105185: 420 pages
  4. ^ Willem G. J. Remmelink, The Chinese war and the collapse of the Javanese state, 1725-1743: KITLV Press: 1994: ISBN 906718067X: 297 pages
  5. ^ Jean Gelman Taylor, Indonesia: Peoples and Histories: Yale University Press: 2004: ISBN 0300105185: 420 pages
  6. ^ Willem G. J. Remmelink, The Chinese war and the collapse of the Javanese state, 1725-1743: KITLV Press: 1994: ISBN 906718067X: 297 pages
  7. ^ John Pemberton, On the subject of "Java"', Cornell University Press: 1994, ISBN 0801499631: 333 pages

Further reading

  • Shen, Sinyan (1987), "Acoustics of Ancient Chinese Bells", Scientific American, Vol. 256, p. 94.

External links


.]] Bell metal is a hard alloy used for making bells. It is a form of bronze, usually approximately 3:1 ratio of copper to tin (78% copper, 22% tin). Bell metal ore is a sulfide of tin, copper, and iron called stannite.

Contents

Usage

Utensils

In India, in the states of Assam, West Bengal and Orissa, it is called kanh and kansa and is used for cooking and eating utensils, with Sarthebari in Assam and Balakati near Bhubaneswar most famous for this craft.

Bells

Most commonly, and as per its colloquial name, bell metal was used for the casting bells (see Bellfounding).

In Russia, church bells are commonly cast with a unique mixture of copper and tin, often with silver added, to produce their unique sonority and resonance, mastered early in Russian Christian history.[1]

Cannon

Bell metal was used to cast many early Spanish, Portuguese and Malay[nb 1] cannon, most notably the Javanese cannon known erroneously as lantaka[nb 2]. In Java, bell metal mixtures including tin were used not only for the manufacture of figurines, objet d'art, sculptures and household goods for the wealthy, they were employed for the gongs, saron, demung and numerous other struck glockenspiel-like instruments of the Javanese gamelan ensemble. This material was also adopted by the Javanese influenced cultures of Thailand, Khmer and Myanmar. Bell metal is particularly prized for its excellent sonorous qualities, also found in bell metal cannons which produce a distinct, loud ring when fired.[2]

The Javanese lantaka was first cast in bell metal under an Empu of the early Majapahit Empire and spread into the surrounding islands of the Nusantara, Javanese skill in gunsmithing and cannon-founding affording military dominance over the surrounding area. Later, disaffected smiths and noble entourages emigrating from Java brought these cannon-founding skill to Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Myanmar[3][4]. When Ternate was captured by the Spanish, they were astounded to find over 3000 very finely cast bell metal cannon in the walled compound, although humorously to the Spaniards these were tied upright to veranda poles, used as phallic-lingam household decorations rather than weapons.[2]. The Spanish and Portuguese were equally astounded to find their European bronze cannon offerings to the Javanese rejected as inferior in quality, as they rightly were.[5]

After the Dutch victories, Javanese smithed cannons of Makassar, Ternate, and the surrounding islands were taken as reparations, considered by the Dutch as made of bronze superior to their own, and subsequently melted down and recast in Dutch standard calibres and bores.[6][7]

Culturally, Javanese bronze cannons and their regional derivatives were traditionally part of a dowry, and offering a poor quality cast bronze cannon was a supreme insult. Brunei and Malaysia retain the tradition of a token cannon as dowry for weddings, and many celebrations are opened with a celebratory shot.

Notes

  1. ^ a dated misleading term which refers geographically to the region spanning from the Thailand Peninsular through to the Philippines
  2. ^ a colloquial term, the correct term is meriam or durbus

References

  1. ^ Slobodskoy, Archpriest Seraphim (1996), [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Bells and Russian Orthodox Peals"], The Law of God, Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, p. 625, ISBN 0-88465-044-8 
  2. ^ a b Michael W. Charney, Southeast Asian warfare, 1300-1900 Brill, 2004 ISBN 9004142401: 319 pages
  3. ^ Jean Gelman Taylor, Indonesia: Peoples and Histories: Yale University Press: 2004: ISBN 0300105185: 420 pages
  4. ^ Willem G. J. Remmelink, The Chinese war and the collapse of the Javanese state, 1725-1743: KITLV Press: 1994: ISBN 906718067X: 297 pages
  5. ^ Jean Gelman Taylor, Indonesia: Peoples and Histories: Yale University Press: 2004: ISBN 0300105185: 420 pages
  6. ^ Willem G. J. Remmelink, The Chinese war and the collapse of the Javanese state, 1725-1743: KITLV Press: 1994: ISBN 906718067X: 297 pages
  7. ^ John Pemberton, On the subject of "Java"', Cornell University Press: 1994, ISBN 0801499631: 333 pages

Further reading

  • Shen, Sinyan (1987), "Acoustics of Ancient Chinese Bells", Scientific American, Vol. 256, p. 94.

External links


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