Myanmar – Mingun – Mingun Bell – 8b

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The Mingun Bell is a bell located in Mingun, Sagaing Region, Myanmar. It is located approximately 11 km north of Mandalay on the western bank of the Irrawaddy River. It was the heaviest functioning bell in the world at several times in history.

The weight of the bell is 55,555 viss (90,718 kilograms or 199,999 pounds). This number is conveniently remembered by many people in Myanmar as a mnemonic "Min Hpyu Hman Hman Pyaw" (မင်းဖြူမှန်မှန်ပြော), with the consonants representing the number 5 in Burmese astronomy and numerology. The weight of the bell and its mnemonic words are written on the surface of the bell in white.

The outer diameter of the rim of the bell is 4.95 m. The height of the bell is 3.66 m on the exterior and 3.51 m in the interior. The outside circumference at the rim is 15.469 m. The bell is 15–30 cm thick and stands 6.31 m high from the rim to the top.

The bell is uncracked and in good ringing condition. The bell does not have a clanger but is rung by striking the outer edge.

HISTORY
Casting of the bell started in 1808 and was finished by 1810. King Bodawpaya (r. 1782–1819) had this gigantic bell cast to go with his huge stupa, Mingun Pahtodawgyi. The bell was said to have been cast on the opposite side of the river and was transported by using two boats, which after crossing the river, proceeded up two specially built canals. The canals were then dammed and the bell was lifted by raising the water level by the addition of earth into the blocked canal. In this way the bell was originally suspended.

The Mingun Bell was knocked off its supports as a result of a large earthquake on 23 March 1839. It was resuspended by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in March 1896 using screw jacks and levers using funds from public subscription. The party to celebrate was attended by many and an hourly boat was required to take visitors from nearby Mandalay. Felice Beato captured a photograph of the bell prior to its resuspension.

At 90 tons, the Mingun Bell reigned as the largest ringing bell in the world until 2000, when it was eclipsed by the 116-ton Bell of Good Luck at the Foquan Temple, Pingdingshan, Henan, China.

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