Korean Bell of Friendship

Okay, so it is Christmas Day and I decided to take a drive out to San Pedro and take in the sights… while everyone else was most likely to be at home.  The first stop was the Korean Bell of Friendship

and honestly, I don’t think there could be a better place to go on Christmas than here. The Bell and the structure that houses it is a finely crafted, detailed and beautiful work of art.

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When art is created, it is intended to create a feeling and the feeling created when in the presence of the Korean Bell of Friendship is exactly what it’s creators intended: A cementing of the pact of peace and friendship between two nations.  And on this Christmas Day I couldn’t help but feel how much I would like to see more nations exchanging bells, statues and artworks than pointing nuclear warheads at each other!

I wasn’t the only one feeling it either.  There were quite a few people there and they were decidedly friendly with several walking up to me to say Merry Christmas.

The Korean Bell of Friendship

Though not as famous, the Korean Bell of Friendship is like LA’s own Statue of Liberty.  A gift between nations and a work of art.  It is something that should be on your list of things to see when visiting Los Angeles if you are going to be anywhere near the San Pedro area.

This massive and intricately-decorated bell and pavilion was donated in 1976 to the people of Los Angeles by the people of the Republic of Korea to celebrate the bicentennial of the U.S. independence, honor veterans of the Korean War, and to consolidate traditional friendship between the two countries. The bell, one of the largest bells in the world, is patterned after the Bronze Bell of King Songdok, which was cast in 771 A.D. and is still on view in South Korea today.

Korean Bell of Friendship
Some of the intricate detail on the Korean Bell of Friendship

The enormous bronze bell is housed in Angel’s Gate Park – also known as the Korean-American Peace Park – in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles. The park, which is often used for weddings or special events because of the Korean-inspired decor, has a ceremonious ringing of the bell five times a year: Independence Day, Korean Independence Day, Constitution Day, New Year’s Eve and Korean American Day.  It was also rung on September 11, 2002, to commemorate the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The bell was cast in Korea and shipped to the United States. Weighing 17 tons, with a height of twelve feet and a diameter of 7-1/2 feet, the bell is made of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, lead and phosphorous added for tone quality.  Four pairs of figures, each pair consisting of the Goddess of Liberty holding a torch, and a Korean spirit , are engraved in relief on the body of the bell. 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. The bell has no clapper but is struck from the outside with a wooden log.

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Below: Video of the intricate detail of the Korean Bell of Friendship

The bell is set in a pagoda-like stone structure which was constructed on the site by thirty craftsmen flown in from Korea. It took them ten months.  The Bell and its housing pavilion were constructed at a costs of over a million dollars to the Korean people.

In addition to seeing the Bell, Angels Gate Park affords one of the best views of the Pacific Ocean and the Los Angeles Harbor to be found.  And when you go, please take a moment to reflect on why it was created and join me in my hope that we will see more and more nations come together in a spirt of peace and cooperation through art.

Angels Gate Park
3601 S Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 548-7705

Korean Bell
Korean Bell of Friendship atop a grassy knoll in Angels Gate Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean

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