List of heaviest bells

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Following is a list of the heaviest bells known to have been cast, and the period of time during which they held that title.

Heaviest functioning bell in the world[edit]

The title of most massive functioning bell in the world has been held chronologically by:

73296,0004843,545To-dai-ji Temple BellSurpassed
1484655,000327.5297,103Great Bell of DhammazediSank during transport
160296,0004843,545To-dai-ji Temple BellSurpassed
1633148,0007467,132Chion-in Temple BellSurpassed
1810195,00097.588,451Mingun BellFunctioning bell
1839148,0007467,132Chion-in Temple BellSurpassed
1896195,00097.588,451Mingun BellSurpassed
1902251,000125.5113,852Shitennō-ji Temple BellRecycled for war
1942195,00097.588,451Mingun BellSurpassed
2000255,736127.6116,000Bell of Good LuckIncumbent

The Great Bell of Dhammazedi[edit]

At approximately 300 tons, the Great Bell of Dhammazedi is the largest bell to have existed in recorded history.[1] Cast in 1484 by King Dhammazedi of Burma, this bell was located at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar). The bell was said to be twelve cubits (6.276 m) high and eight cubits (4.184 m) wide. Click here to see a drawing of the bell as it appeared while still at the Shwedagon Pagoda.

The Great Bell of Dhammazedi remained at the Shwedagon Pagoda as the heaviest functioning bell in the world until 1602. That year, Portuguese warlord and mercenary Philip de Brito removed it and attempted to carry it by a specially constructed raft down the Yangon River to his stronghold of Thanlyin (later known as Syriam). However, the ship carrying the bell sank at the confluence of the Yangon and Bago rivers. The Dhammazedi Bell remains buried to this day at that location, possibly well-preserved, beneath some 25 feet (7.6 m) of sediment. Numerous attempts have been made to locate and recover the bell, thus far without success.[2][3]

So while the Great Bell of Dhammazedi might indeed be the heaviest bell in the world, it must be disqualified from consideration as such, until it has been recovered and restored to a functional status.

The Chion-in Temple Bell[edit]

Cast in 1633, the 74-ton Chion-in Temple Bell, located in Kyoto, Japan, held the title of heaviest functioning bell in the world until 1810.[4]

From March 1839 until March 1896, the Mingun Bell was not functional due to the fact that it was not hanging freely from its shackles. During this period, the Chion-in Temple Bell regained its former title.[4]

The Mingun Bell[edit]

Main article: Mingun Bell

Cast in 1808, the 90-ton Mingun Bell in Mingun, Sagaing Division, Burma became the heaviest functioning bell in the world from its suspension in 1810 until 23 March 1839. On that date, it was knocked off its supports by a large earthquake. Click here to see a photograph of the Mingun Bell as it appeared in the late 1800s.

The Mingun Bell was resuspended in March 1896 by a team of men from the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.[5] The Mingun Bell was again the world's heaviest functioning bell from its resuspension in 1896 until 1902.

The Mingun Bell regained its status as the heaviest functioning bell in the world in 1942.

The Shitennō-ji Temple Bell[edit]

In 1902, the newly-cast 114-ton Shitennō-ji Temple Bell was hung in Osaka, Japan.[6] The Shitennō-ji Temple Bell reigned as the heaviest functioning bell in the world from that year until 1942, when it was melted down for its metal to assist with the then-ongoing World War II effort.[6]

The Bell of Good Luck[edit]

Cast on New Year's Eve 2000, the Bell of Good Luck is located in the Foquan Temple in Pingdingshan, Henan, China.[7][8] The bell weighs 116 metric tons and it is 810.8 cm (318 in) in height and 511.8 cm (201 in) in diameter.[7][8] The Bell of Good Luck has therefore claimed the title of heaviest functioning bell in the world since its construction in 2000, up to the present date.

The Tsar Bell[edit]

Main article: Tsar Bell

The 216-ton Russian Tsar Bell (also known as the Tsar Kolokol III) on display on the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin is the heaviest bell known to exist in the world today.[9] However, a very large piece broke off from the Tsar Bell during a fire which engulfed the tower the bell was intended to be hung in, so this irreparably damaged bell has never been suspended or rung. The Tsar Bell cannot be considered as the heaviest functioning bell in the world due to its inability to serve as a percussion instrument. Rather, it may be considered to be the largest bell-shaped sculpture in the world.

Existing bells[edit]

Bells weighing 50000 lbs (25 tons) or more:

Name of bell (or edifice containing bell)LocationWeight (lbs)Year CastManufacturer or FoundryNotes
Tsar BellMoscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia433,356 pounds (196,567 kg)1735Ivan Feodorovich Motorin[10]
Bell of Good LuckFoquan Temple, Fodushan Scenic Area, Pingdingshan, Henan, China255,200 pounds (115,800 kg)2000Tianrui Groupcurrently the heaviest functioning bell in the world[7][8][11]
Mingun BellMingun, Myanmar195,000 pounds (88,000 kg)1808unknown[11]
Tsarsky KolokolTrinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia158,400 pounds (71,800 kg)2004Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia[10]
Chion-in Temple BellKyoto, Japan148,000 pounds (67,000 kg)1633unknown[4]
Great Uspensky Bell (also known as Great Assumption Bell)Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia144,452 pounds (65,522 kg)1817Yakov Zavyalov and Rusinov[10]
To-dai-ji Temple BellNara, Japan96,000 pounds (44,000 kg)732unknown[11]
Yongle BellDa Zhong Si (Great Bell Temple), Beijing, China93,000 pounds (42,000 kg)ca. 1420unknown[11]
Name unknownMoscow, Russia88,000 pounds (40,000 kg)1600Andrey Chokhov[10]
Tharrawaddy Min BellShwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar84,000 pounds (38,000 kg)1841unknown[11]
Gotenba BellToki no Sumika Park, Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan79,750 pounds (36,170 kg)2006Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry[11][12]
Đại hồng chungBai Dinh Pagoda, Gia Vien, Ninh Binh, Vietnam79,336 pounds (35,986 kg)2007Nguyễn Văn Sở, Huế, Vietnam[13]
Blagovestnik (also known as Firstborn)Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia78,250 pounds (35,490 kg)2002Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia[10]
Savvino-Storozhevsky MonasteryZvenigorod, Moscow Oblast, Russia77,000 pounds (35,000 kg)2003Vera LLC, Shilova, Voronezh, Russia[10][14]
Yuriev MonasteryVeliky Novgorod, Novgorod Oblast, Russia75,837 pounds (34,399 kg)unknown[10]
World Peace BellNewport, Kentucky, U.S.73,381 pounds (33,285 kg)1998Fonderie Paccard[15] Largest swinging bell in the world
Kazansky MonasteryTambov, Tambov Oblast, Russia72,226 pounds (32,761 kg)unknown[10]
Kirillo-Belozersky MonasteryKirillov and Belozersk, Vologda Oblast, Russia72,226 pounds (32,761 kg)unknown[10]
Saint Isaac's CathedralSaint Petersburg, Russia67,191 pounds (30,477 kg)mid-19th centuryunknown[10]
Torzhestvennyj BellCathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, Russia59,749 pounds (27,102 kg)1878unknown[10]
Evangelist (bell)Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia59,400 pounds (26,900 kg)2002Zavod imeni Likhacheva, Moscow, Russia[10]
Saint Sophia CathedralVeliky Novgorod, Novgorod Oblast, Russia58,286 pounds (26,438 kg)1659unknown[10]
St. PetersglockeCologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany52,800 pounds (23,900 kg)1923Heinrich Ulrich[16]
SysoiAssumption Cathedral in Rostov, Rostov-Velikij, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia52,000 pounds (24,000 kg)1689Flor Terentyev[10][17]
Maha Ganda Bell, (also known as the Singu Min Bell)Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar50,600 pounds (23,000 kg)1779unknown[11][18]

Destroyed or lost bells[edit]

Bells weighing 50000 lbs (25 tons) or more, no longer in existence (lost or destroyed):

Name of bell (or edifice containing bell)LocationWeight (lbs)Year CastManufacturer or FoundryNotes
Great Bell of DhammazediShwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar655,000 pounds (297,000 kg)1484unknownsubmerged in the Bago River in 1608; may be recoverable[11]
Shitennō-ji Temple BellOsaka, Japan251,000 pounds (114,000 kg)1902unknowndestroyed 1942[11]
Tsarsky Kolokol Bell (aka ‘’Trotzkoi Bell’’)Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia144,452 pounds (65,522 kg)1748unknowndestroyed 1930[10]
Savvino-Storozhevsky MonasteryZvenigorod, Moscow Oblast, Russia76,767 pounds (34,821 kg)1667unknowndestroyed 1941[10]
Godunov Bell (also known as Old Assumption Bell, or Resurrection Bell)Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast, Russia66,809 pounds (30,304 kg)ca. 1600Andrey Chokhovdestroyed 1701[10]
KaiserglockeCologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany61,160 pounds (27,740 kg)1874Andreas Hammdestroyed 1918[16]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ World's Three Biggest Bells
  2. ^ Largest Bell under water
  3. ^ Mike Hatcher
  4. ^ a b c Chion-in Temple, Kyoto
  5. ^ Bird, George W (1897). Wanderings in Burma, pages 318–319. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd.
  6. ^ a b Price, Percival (1983), Bells and Man, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 264–273 (App. A: An historical survey of bells around the world) 
  7. ^ a b c Fodushan Scenic Area:The Bell of Good Luck
  8. ^ a b c The Bell of Good Luck: the largest working bell in the world
  9. ^ Slobodskoy, Archpriest Seraphim (1996), "Bells and Russian Orthodox Peals", The Law of God, Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, p. 624, ISBN 0-88465-044-8 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Great Bells of Russia
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Great Oriental Bells of Asia and the Pacific Rim
  12. ^ Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry:Gotenba Bell
  13. ^
  14. ^ 'Most sonorous' bell of all Russia is recast (35 tons)
  15. ^ Paccard Bell Foundry
  16. ^ a b Great bells of Europe by weight
  17. ^ Photographs of Sysoi
  18. ^ Click here to see a photograph of the Maha Ganda Bell as it appeared, circa 1897.

External links[edit]