Bell Ownership and the Evolving Definition of the 'Other' in Ancient China

by Fields, Rebecca A

Abstract (Summary)
This paper will look at the Chinese bronze bell and its constructed role as a tool used by the socio-political dominant from the Shang Dynasty to the Warring States period, the latter half of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. Bells and bell ownership represented power. They were musical instruments that reflected an awe-inspiring level of artistic achievement. But they were also used as tools by upper echelon of the socio-political hierarchy to reflect their power and control. As the bronze bell evolves from the Shang dynasty to the close of the Eastern Zhou dynasty, the signified or the perceived meaning of the bell never changes. Bells always represented power. However, what did change were the rules of ownership. By studying Michel Foucault’s theory of power/knowledge; how historical context can change perceptions and meanings; and the rules of bell ownership, this paper will illustrate how the power structure in China was changed.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:chinese bronze bells shang western zhou eastern michel foucault bell ownership


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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