|Chinese bells; bells; Song dynasty; Buddhist temples; social history; local history; bell inscriptions
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Until the present, the history of Chinese bells has mainly been studied through archaeological findings, most prominently Eastern Zhou bell chimes, and serious studies in which bells are the main topic remain scarce for periods after the Han. However, bells demonstrably continued to play a significant role in different contexts, most strikingly as a component of Buddhist material culture. Despite the lack of archaeological material for later periods, the importance of these instruments can be deduced from written sources. This thesis traces the history of Buddhist temple bells during the Song dynasty (960-1276), through bell inscriptions that have been preserved despite the disappearance of the majority of the bells themselves. It pays attention to their practical and symbolic functions, as attested in the inscriptions, as well as to the context and local social history of bells, which can be reconstructed from the names that occur in the inscriptions. Advisors/Committee Members: Moore, Oliver (advisor).