“This bell is the best bell in the world. If Germany had a bell like this, it would suffice to build a museum.” – Dr. Otto Kümmel, German archeologist
The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok is a large bronze bell made to honor King Seongdeok of Silla (57 BC – AD 935). It is the most beloved bell in Korea and is known for its beautiful sound. The bell weighs 18.9 tons and stands 3.66 meters high. It took 34 years until its completion in 771.
The bell consists of a dragon-head-shaped hook, an acoustic pipe, and the body. Its deep resonating sound is attributed to Korean bells’ signature pipe that is designed to minimize noise. Thanks to the pipe, the bell creates regular sound fluctuations called the beating phenomena, leading to deep and wide echoes. Its body is embellished with a delicate engraving of a pair of angelic females.
Exact hitting spots, called Dangjwa, are marked with lotus patterns. Unlike western bells whose sounds are made by shaking, Korean bells are designed to be hit by a wooden log. Modern physicists proved that the Dangjwas on the Divine Bell are ideally located to create the most resonating sound while minimizing the impact of hitting. A combination of many other factors contributes to its beautiful sound that even modern technology is unable to reproduce. The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok is a masterpiece that represents Silla’s art, technology, and science.