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thin, elongated bell-shaped bronze forms, evidence of a short-lived bronze culture, localized in the centre of Japan, from the middle Yayoi period (c. 250 BC-c. AD 250) into the Tumulus period (c. AD 250-c. 500). Dotaku are sometimes decorated with domestic and hunting scenes delineated in thread relief in a geometric, linear style; others may be decorated with a lattice or lacework pattern. They range in height from 10 cm (4 inches) to 127 cm (50 inches). Some of the dotaku, or bronze bells, may have been used as percussion instruments, but it is more likely that they were nonfunctional emblems used by clan chieftains who ruled over the agricultural communities

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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