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Korean Friendship Bell
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Korean Friendship Bell

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2004 - 2017.

The Korean Friendship Bell was donated to the people of Los Angeles by the people of the Republic of Korea in 1976 to celebrate the bicentennial of the U.S. independence, to honor veterans of the Korean War, and to consolidate traditional friendship between the two countries. The bell was dedicated on October 3, 1976. The project was coordinated by Philip Ahn, a Korean-American actor. The bell was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 187 in 1978.

The bell is patterned after the Bronze Divine Bell of King Songdok the Great of Silla (also known as the Emille Bell), which was cast in 771 A.D for Bongdeok Temple and is now on view at the National Museum of Gyeongju.. These two bells are believed to be the largest in the world. The bell was cast in Korea and shipped to the United States. The bell weighs 17 tons, has a height of twelve feet, a diameter of 7-1/2 feet, and an average thickness of 8 inches. It is made of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, lead and phosphorous added for tone quality. The exterior surface is richly decorated in relief. Four pairs of figures, each pair consisting of the Goddess of Liberty holding a torch, and an apsarasa or Korean spirit figure, are engraved in relief on the body of the bell. The bell has no clapper but is struck from the outside with a wooden log. The bell is rung only four times each year: the Fourth of July, August 15 (Korean Independence Day) and New Year's Eve, and every September to coincide with bells ringing around the country to celebrate Constitution week. It was also rung on September 11, 2002 to commemorate the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The bell is mounted in a pagoda-like stone structure which was constructed on the site by thirty craftsmen flown in from Korea. It took them ten months and costs $569,680. Its design is traditional, symmetric, consisting of a peaked, gabled roof supported by twelve columns representing the Chinese zodiac, each column guarded by a carved animal. Each of the Korean spirits holds up a different symbol: a symbolic design of the Korean flag; a branch of the rose of Sharon, Korea's national flower; a branch of laurel, symbol of victory; and a dove of peace. Animals stand guard at the base of each column.

The site offers a panoramic view of the Los Angeles harbor, the Catalina Channel and the sea terraces of San Pedro hill. The bell is located in Angels Gate Park on the former Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur. TheKorean Friendship Bell is located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, near Los Angeles Harbor.

Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion, the section of the park is alternatively called the "Korean-American Peace Park,"
Angel's Gate Recreation Center.
The entrance is at 37th and Gaffey Streets
3700 S. Gaffey Street..
San Pedro, CA 90731
Another listed address is 3601 S Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731

Pagoda structure from a distance. Photo Date: 12-11-04.
Southwest corner. Photo Date: 12-11-04.
Carvings in the pagoda roof. Photo Date: 12-11-04.

Underside of roof. Photo date: 4-9-06.
Carvings in the pagoda roof. Photo Date: 12-11-04.

Detail of corner. Photo date: 4-9-06.
Carvings in the pagoda roof. Photo Date: 12-11-04.

Detail of corner. Photo date: 4-9-06.
The ceiling is decorated. Photo Date: 12-11-04.
Bell and striker. Photo Date: 12-11-04.
The bell. Photo Date: 12-11-04.

The bell. Photo Date: 4-9-06.

Pagoda structure from a distance. Photo Date: 12-11-04.
Fort McArthur - Sorry, lost this image, looking for it.
As seen from Fort McArthur. Photo Date: 12-11-04.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 18:17:25 EDT

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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