Following is a list of the heaviest bells known to have been cast, and the period of time during which they held that title.

Heaviest functioning bell in the world

The title of heaviest functioning bell in the world has been held chronologically by:

Year Bell Weight Fate
kg lb
732 Tōdai-ji 44,000 96,000 Surpassed
1484 Great Bell of Dhammazedi 294,000 648,000 Stolen and lost
1608 Tōdai-ji 44,000 96,000 Surpassed
1633 Chion-in Temple 67,000 148,000 Surpassed
1810 Mingun Bell 88,000 195,000 Fell during earthquake (raised again in 1896)
1839 Chion-in Temple 67,000 148,000 Surpassed
1896 Mingun Bell 88,000 195,000 Surpassed
1902 Shitennō-ji Temple Bell 114,000 251,000 Recycled for war
1942 Mingun Bell 88,000 195,000 Surpassed
2000 Bell of Good Luck 116,000 256,000 Incumbent

The Great Bell of Dhammazedi

Main article: Great Bell of Dhammazedi

At approximately 300 tons, the Great Bell of Dhammazedi is the largest bell to have existed in recorded history.[1] Cast in 1484 by King Dhammazedi of Mon, this bell was located at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar). The bell was said to be twelve cubits (6.276 m) high and eight cubits (4.184 m) wide.[2]

The Great Bell of Dhammazedi remained at the Shwedagon Pagoda as the heaviest functioning bell in the world until 1608. That year, Portuguese warlord and mercenary Philip de Brito removed it and attempted to carry it by a specially constructed raft down the Yangon River to his stronghold of Thanlyin (later known as Syriam). However, the ship carrying the bell sank at the confluence of the Yangon and Bago rivers. The Dhammazedi Bell remains buried to this day at that location, possibly well-preserved, beneath some 8 metres (26 ft) of sediment. Numerous attempts have been made to locate and recover the bell, thus far without success.[3][4]

So while the Great Bell of Dhammazedi might indeed be the heaviest bell in the world, it must be disqualified from consideration as such, until it has been recovered and restored to a functional status.

The Chion-in Temple Bell

Cast in 1633, the 74-ton Chion-in Temple Bell, located in Kyoto, Japan, held the title of heaviest functioning bell in the world until 1810.[5]

From March 1839 until March 1896, the Mingun Bell was not functional due to the fact that it was not hanging freely from its shackles. During this period, the Chion-in Temple Bell regained its former title.[5]

The Mingun Bell

Main article: Mingun Bell

Cast in 1808, the 90-ton Mingun Bell in Mingun, Sagaing Division, Burma became the heaviest functioning bell in the world from its suspension in 1810 until 23 March 1839. On that date, it was knocked off its supports by a large earthquake.[6]

The Mingun Bell was resuspended in March 1896 by a team of men from the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.[7] The Mingun Bell was again the world's heaviest functioning bell from its resuspension in 1896 until 1902.

The Mingun Bell regained its status as the heaviest functioning bell in the world in 1942 and held that title until 2000.

The Shitennō-ji Temple Bell

In 1902, the newly-cast 114-ton Shitennō-ji Temple Bell was hung in Osaka, Japan.[8] The Shitennō-ji Temple Bell reigned as the heaviest functioning bell in the world from that year until 1942, when it was melted down for its metal to assist with the then-ongoing World War II effort.[8]

The Bell of Good Luck

Cast on New Year's Eve 2000, the Bell of Good Luck is located in the Foquan Temple in Pingdingshan, Henan, China.[9][10] The bell weighs 116 tonnes (256,000 lb) and it is 810.8 cm (319.2 in) in height and 511.8 cm (201.5 in) in diameter.[9][10] The Bell of Good Luck has therefore claimed the title of heaviest functioning bell in the world since its construction in 2000, up to the present date.

The Tsar Bell

Main article: Tsar Bell

The 216-ton Russian Tsar Bell (also known as the Tsar Kolokol III) on display on the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin is the heaviest bell known to exist in the world today.[11] However, a very large piece broke off from the Tsar Bell during a fire which engulfed the tower the bell was intended to be hung in, so this irreparably damaged bell has never been suspended or rung. The Tsar Bell cannot be considered as the heaviest functioning bell in the world due to its inability to serve as a percussion instrument. Rather, it may be considered to be the largest bell, or at least the largest bell-shaped sculpture in the world.

Existing bells

Bells weighing 25 tonnes or more:

Name of bell (or edifice containing bell) Location Weight Year cast Manufacturer or foundry Notes
Tsar Bell Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia 201,924 kg (445,166 lb) 1735 Ivan Feodorovich Motorin broken[12]
Bell of Good Luck Foquan Temple, Fodushan Scenic Area, Pingdingshan, Henan, China 116,000 kg (256,000 lb) 2000 Tianrui Group currently the heaviest functioning bell in the world[9][10][13]
Mingun Bell Mingun, Myanmar 90,718 kg (199,999 lb) 1808 King Bodawpaya Weighs 55,555 viss, or exactly 199,999 pounds.[13]
Tsarsky Kolokol Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 71,800 kg (158,400 lb) 2004 Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia [12]
Chion-in Temple Bell Kyoto, Japan 67,000 kg (148,000 lb) 1633 unknown [5]
Great Uspensky Bell (also known as Great Assumption Bell) Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia 65,522 kg (144,452 lb) 1817 Yakov Zavyalov and Rusinov [12]
Tōdai-ji Temple Bell Nara, Japan 44,000 kg (96,000 lb) 732 unknown [13]
Yongle Bell Da Zhong Si (Great Bell Temple), Beijing, China 42,000 kg (93,000 lb) ca. 1420 unknown [13]
Name unknown Moscow, Russia 40,000 kg (88,000 lb) 1600 Andrey Chokhov [12]
Tharrawaddy Min Bell Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar 38,000 kg (84,000 lb) 1842 Maha Sithu and Maha Min Kyaw Thinkhaya[14] [13]
Gotenba Bell Toki no Sumika Park, Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan 36,170 kg (79,750 lb) 2006 Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry [13][15]
Đại hồng chung Bai Dinh Pagoda, Gia Vien, Ninh Binh, Vietnam 35,986 kg (79,336 lb) 2007 Nguyễn Văn Sở, Huế, Vietnam [16]
Blagovestnik (also known as Firstborn) Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 35,490 kg (78,250 lb) 2002 Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia [12]
Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery Zvenigorod, Moscow Oblast, Russia 35,000 kg (77,000 lb) 2003 Vera LLC, Shilova, Voronezh, Russia [12][17]
Yuriev Monastery Veliky Novgorod, Novgorod Oblast, Russia 34,399 kg (75,837 lb) unknown [12]
World Peace Bell Newport, Kentucky, U.S. 33,285 kg (73,381 lb) 1998 Fonderie Paccard [18]
Kazansky Monastery Tambov, Tambov Oblast, Russia 32,761 kg (72,226 lb) unknown [12]
Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery Kirillov and Belozersk, Vologda Oblast, Russia 32,761 kg (72,226 lb) unknown [12]
Saint Isaac's Cathedral Saint Petersburg, Russia 30,477 kg (67,191 lb) mid-19th century unknown [12]
Torzhestvennyj Bell Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, Russia 27,102 kg (59,749 lb) 1878 unknown [12]
Evangelist (bell) Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 26,900 kg (59,400 lb) 2002 Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia [12]
Saint Sophia Cathedral Veliky Novgorod, Novgorod Oblast, Russia 26,438 kg (58,286 lb) 1659 unknown [12]
Big Bell (People's Salvation Cathedral) People's Salvation Cathedral, Bucharest, Romania 25,190 kg (55,534 lb) 2016 Grassmayr The heaviest swinging bell in the world.[19]
St. Petersglocke Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany 23,900 kg (52,800 lb) 1923 Heinrich Ulrich The heaviest bell in the world which hangs on a straight bar.[20]
Sysoi Assumption Cathedral in Rostov, Rostov-Velikij, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia 24,000 kg (52,000 lb) 1689 Flor Terentyev [12][21]
Singu Min Bell Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar 23,000 kg (50,600 lb) 1779 Singu Min [13][22]

Destroyed or lost bells

Bells weighing 25 tonnes or more, no longer in existence (lost or destroyed):

Name of bell (or edifice containing bell) Location Weight Year cast Manufacturer or foundry Notes
Great Bell of Dhammazedi Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar 294,000 kg (648,000 lb) 1484 King Dhammazedi submerged in the Bago River in 1608; may be recoverable[13]
Shitennō-ji Temple Bell Osaka, Japan 114,000 kg (251,000 lb) 1902 unknown destroyed 1942[13]
Tsarsky Kolokol Bell (aka "Trotzkoi Bell") Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 144,452 lb (65,522 kg) 1748 unknown destroyed 1930[12]
Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery Zvenigorod, Moscow Oblast, Russia 34,821 kg (76,767 lb) 1667 unknown destroyed 1941[12]
Godunov Bell (also known as Old Assumption Bell, or Resurrection Bell) Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia 30,304 kg (66,809 lb) ca. 1600 Andrey Chokhov destroyed 1701[12]
Kaiserglocke Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany 27,740 kg (61,160 lb) 1874 Andreas Hamm destroyed 1918[20]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ World's Three Biggest Bells
  2. ^ drawing of the bell as it appeared while still at the Shwedagon Pagoda.
  3. ^ Largest Bell under water Archived 2012-09-13 at archive.today
  4. ^ Mike Hatcher
  5. ^ a b c Chion-in Temple, Kyoto
  6. ^ Photograph of the Mingun Bell as it appeared in the late 1800s.
  7. ^ Bird, George W (1897). Wanderings in Burma, pages 318–319. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd.
  8. ^ a b Price, Percival (1983), Bells and Man, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 264–273 (App. A: An historical survey of bells around the world)
  9. ^ a b c "Fodushan Scenic Area:The Bell of Good Luck". Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  10. ^ a b c The Bell of Good Luck: the largest working bell in the world
  11. ^ Slobodskoy, Archpriest Seraphim (1996), "Bells and Russian Orthodox Peals", The Law of God, Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, p. 624, ISBN 0-88465-044-8
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Great Bells of Russia
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Great Oriental Bells of Asia and the Pacific Rim
  14. ^ Maung Maung Tin (1905). Konbaung Set Yazawin. Vol. 3 (2004, 4th ed.). p. 32.
  15. ^ Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry Archived 2010-03-04 at the Wayback Machine:Gotenba Bell
  16. ^ "VnExpress - Báo tiếng Việt nhiều người xem nhất".
  17. ^ 'Most sonorous' bell of all Russia is recast (35 tons)
  18. ^ Paccard Bell Foundry
  19. ^ Wamsiedler, Sebastian (13 April 2017). "Rekord gefallen – Größte freischwingende Glocke der Welt zukünftig nicht mehr in Köln |" [Record broken – Largest free-swinging bell in the world will no longer be in Cologne]. www.wamsiedler.de (in German). Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  20. ^ a b Great bells of Europe by weight
  21. ^ Photographs of Sysoi
  22. ^ photograph of the Maha Ganda Bell as it appeared, circa 1897.