Musashibō Benkei (d. 1189), a historical figure known for phenomenal strength, Was a monk soldier at Enryakuji Temple on Mount Hiei. A bonshō was also a symbol of a temple's leadership; possession of the bell indicated ownership of the associated temple. As a result, bells were often stolen;Benkei is said to have dragged the three-ton bell of Mii-dera temple up Mount Hiei during one such theft. The deep scratches in the Benkei bell, which is still displayed at Mii-dera, are said in the legend to be the result of Benkei's kicking the bell all the way back to the monastery when he discovered that it would not toll for him. The Benkei bell is also associated with the legendary hero ,Tawara Toda who originally donated it to the Mii-dera temple. He acquired it as a gift from the dragon deity,Ryujin.
This lovely ceramic figure of Benkei and the bell ( bonsho) shows the theft of the bell in a wonderful way, Benkei items are hard to find and much sought after inJapan .
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