Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Renewed Bell Appeal

I would just like to broadcast the plea once more. I urge anyone who might have the opportunity to make a digital photograph of the Tibetan inscription on the bell at Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia: Please do step forward and let it be known to the world.

At the moment we have two conflicting testimonies about what this inscription might be. James B. Bryce,traveling in Armenia in 1876, said that it is inscribed with
Om Om Hrum. Following a comment by Andrew West we see that according to Fridtjof Nansen's Armenia and the Near East, it says Om Ah Hum. It is unlikely either of these two travel writers could personally read Tibetan letters, and it is possible that there is more to the inscription than just the three syllables. One clear photograph could easily solve the problem.

Here is a photograph of the mosaic of the Cathedral of Etchmiadzin that is found on the floor of the Armenian Chapel of Saint Gregory the Illuminator. It is reached by a stairway leading down from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. On the stones of the walls of this stairway are thousands and thousands of engravings of small Crusader-period crosses.A stairway down the right side of the Chapel of St. Gregory leads still further down to the cave where St. Helena, mother of Constantine, ‘invented’ (i.e. discovered) the True Cross in 326 CE.

So please, come forward with a photo that would be placed on this blog with much thanks. I’m not too proud to beg.

Another piece of the mosaic: Noah’s ark.
It is said that a relic of the wood of the ark is kept today at Holy Etchmiadzin.

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Postscript (August 19, 2012):

Another bell I would like to know more about is one in Korea made in 1346, with both Sanskrit (Lantsa script) and Tibetan letters on it.  This is another example, at least, of a Tibetan-inscription bell located far away from the Himalayan plateau.  Here's a reference to the only article I know of at the moment:

Yuyama Akira, Die Sanskrit-Texte in Lan-tsha und in tibetischer (dBu-can) Schrift auf der im Jahre 1346 gegossenen Glocke des Tempels Yeon-bog-jeol in Korea.  XXIII. Deutscher Orientalistentag, Ausgewählte Vorträge (Stuttgart 1989) 429-434.

By the way, I’m still waiting impatiently for that Armenian bell photograph...  Does anybody out there hear my pleas?

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