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Bell Cup (goblet with rattle base)


Artwork Details

Bell Cup (goblet with rattle base)
5th century
stoneware with stamped and painted decoration
5 1/4 x 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 in. (13.3 x 8.2 x 8.2 cm)
Gift of Bruce and Inta Hasenkamp and Museum purchase made possible by Elder and Mrs. Sang-Yong Nam


The bell cup is an ingenious combination of a goblet and a bell. Tiny clay balls inside the openwork base rattle when the cup is tilted or shaken. One scholar speculates that these cups may have been used in shamanistic rites, to alert the spirits when a libation was poured on the ground. Bell cups of this shape have been found in many fifth-century Gaya tombs along the western bank of the Nakdong River.
Maribeth Graybill, The Enduring Art of the Korean Potter, December 12, 2004-November 6, 2005

Subject Matter:

The midsection of Bell cup is usually housing earthen balls which make a sound by shaking the cup. The ball is a little small sized in 7~20 Cm. The midsection is estimated to have served as the handle.

Physical Description:

This cup consists of two parts such as the long cup and the midsection containing balls. It has a wide mouth together with a large and flat bottom. Two protruding bands divide the sup into four fields, with the bottom three being decorated with incised gouged dots patterns. The midsection has two areas divided by a protruding band. Both areas have some triangular perforations

This is a grayish brown, low-fired earthenware bell cup. The bell section is in the shape of two cups attached together at the rim; one cup is upright, while the other cup is reversed. This bell is attached to the base of the cup. The body of the cup is divided into four segments by three sets of raised bands; the lower three segments feature vertical lines of dots. The body of the bell is divided into upper and lower sections, each of which contains a series of triangular perforations offset from those of the other segment. Vertical lines of dots, the same as those on the body, were applied between the perforations in the upper segment of the bell. The flat base of the bell retains traces of narrow lines scored in order to attach a foot.

[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2017) p. 71]

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