Emille bell
(The Divine Bell of King Seongduk)


The famous Emille Bell is housed in an individual pavilion in the right yard of Kyongju National Museum. Its official name is the Divine Bell of King Seongduk but it is nicknamed after the legend that a baby girl cried for "emille," or mommy after being putting in to the molten bronze. It used to be stricken thirty three times at the turn of a new year but ringing the bell is now forbidden to protect it; unfortunately the actual bell tune with solemn but delicate, long resonance is never to be heard any more.

This bell is the largest Korean bell so far preserved.
The quality and artistic devel -opment of Korean bell making has been recognized world -wide and must be ranked among the proudest examples of Korea's cultural achieve -ments. The apex of this development was reached during Silla Kingdom and the most perfect example is this
Emille bell. The technique of making its connecting pin has remained a mystery.

The Emille is
10 feet high and
7 and a half feet in diameter. (Often the dragon hook is measured which gives an additional foot.)
Now the largest in the world is the 20 foot Moscow bell, but the
Emille bell is one thousand years older, more beautiful and infinitely more graceful. The strong solemn tone reputedly can be heard as far as 40 miles on a clear crisp night.

The purpose of the hollow tube protruding from the top is to amplify the tone. Korean bells can be heard at unusually long distances. When the bell was struck on the side with a wooden log on a chain the sound would echo from the clay vessel.

From this echo chamber the sound would be transmitted through the tube at the top. The Emille Bell embodies the characteristics of the ancient Korean bronze bells.

Though now we call this bell the Emille Bell of Bongduksa, the actual name is engraved on its surface. "Great King Sungduk's Divine Bell" is the name inscribed though people still refer to this bell as Emille.

Legend has it that it could ring by throwing the artisan's beloved little daughter into the melted bronze as a sacrifice after numerous repeated failures. From then on, the bell has sounded like a baby crying for its mother, and that's why it's called the Emille bell