Title:Ritual Chime (kei)Artist:Artist UnknownDate:Muromachi (Ashikaga) periodCreation Place:Asia, JapanCredit Line:The Putnam Dana McMillan FundAccession Number:2000.79
Buddhist priests strike bronze chimes like this one with a small mallet to signal the start of ceremonies and to mark the titles of sutras (holy writings) as they are chanted. Suspended from small wooden frames, they are placed to the right of the officiating priest. The earliest chimes made in Japan were simple, geometric shapes but, by the 12th century, metalworkers were creating more elaborate, often beautifully detailed examples. This chime is in the shape of a blossoming lotus flower, a Buddhist symbol of purity.