277-year-old bell discovered in China

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Shijiazhuang : A giant iron bell made 277 years ago has been found in a village in China's Hebei province, the cultural relics department said on Thursday.

The bell weighs 200 kg and is one metre in height. It has a diameter of 80 cm at the bottom and is 2 cm thick, Xinhua news agency reported.

The bell consists of two parts. Eight characters wishing a long life for the empire and the crown prince were cast into the upper section. The lower section has an over 300-character inscription, indicating the history of the bell.

Cultural relics experts in Cixian County said that bells have a long history in China. They were once used to convey messages and later became musical instruments and tools for sacrificial activities.

The new finding will help understand religion, customs and the development of the foundry industry in the southern part of Hebei.