During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a large eleventh-century bronze bell made in Korea became a grand attraction on the grounds of Onoe Shrine in Kakogawa, Japan. Although such bells are made of expensive material that require significant financial investment and technical skill, most are overlooked as common fixtures inside bell towers at Buddhist temples across Asia. Yet the bell at Onoe Shrine has a particularly complex and fascinating story to tell. Using object biography as an approach to study this unusual monument enables us to see how this bell became the popular subject of legends, travel-diary accounts, gazetteer entries, popular woodblock prints, and souvenirs made in a variety of materials. The bell's legendary life story accorded it the ability to solve human problems and use its voice to demand where it should be located, which fueled people's desire to see it with their own eyes and to make physical contact with it. This examination of the bell's intertwining life tales reveals how, after initially serving as a ritual object at a Korean Buddhist temple, it experienced dramatic transformations into a high-value export (or trafficked) commodity, Japanese poetic trope, shrine treasure, and tourist draw.

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