King Bayinnaung was the king of the Taungoo Dynasty (modern day Myanmar) from 1551-1581 and donated the bronze bell to the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan in 1557. The inscriptions on the bell are in three languages, Myanmar Mon and Pali and record the king’s military, political, cultural and social achievements.
King Bayinnaung significantly extended the borders of his empire and the bell lists the achievements of the first 6 years of his reign. The bell inscription provides information on the king’s conquests and campaigns, on his power and authority and on his good deeds. It also includes information about the weight of the bell, also evidence of the external relationships between Myanmar and other countries such as India, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
The bell still stands on the site where it was placed by King Bayinnaung. It is 165 cm high, 14cm thick and its base is 109 cm in diameter. The top part of the bell is inscribed in Pali and in Myanmar and Mon on each half of the bottom parts. There are 35 lines in Mon, 43 lines in Myanmar and 5 lines in Pali. It is rare for there to be inscriptions on bells in three languages.