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A bronze bell inscribed ‘made in the Yongzheng period’, estimated at €900,000-1.5m at Nagel.

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Among the top lots is an impressive 3ft 6in (1.06m) high bronze bell. The inscriptions on the front and back can be translated as ‘to the long life of the emperor’ and ‘made in the Yongzheng period’.

In the 1730s, Emperor Yongzheng commissioned several monumental bells of varying sizes which were used for different ritual purposes. Many were modelled on archaic bronzes. The design of the present bell bears great similarity to an example from 1546 that belonged to a Buddhist temple in Peking.

The distinctive suspension depicts Pulao, one of the nine sons of the Dragon King. According to legend, his roar was loud enough to shake the earth. The auction house is hoping for a similar effect when the bell comes up for sale with a guide of €900,000-1.5m.

auction.de