Wishing Bells/To Protect & To Serve

Sook Jin Jo, 2009. Parker Center, 150 N. Los Angeles Street  near Parker Center.

Text from the plaque: There are three primary elements in this public art project: columns, bells, and ribbons. The numbers associated with these elements carry a unique meaning, from the nine columns (consisting of five larger and four smaller columns) to the 108 bells and ribbons suspended from the central trellis system. The number 5 references the five-member Board of Police Commissioners, and the number 4 references the four-star insignia of the Chief of Police. When added together, the numbers 5 and 4 create the number 9. Across various cultures, the number 9, as the highest single digit number, suggests perfection, immutable truth, and a triumph of stability and balance over volatility and disparity. The bells symbolize elements of renewal, peace, harmony, freedom, protection and spirituality. Each ribbon hanging from the bells is etched with text contributed by the community. As part of the Japanese-Buddhist culture, beginning on New Year's Eve and continuing into New Year's Day, it is tradition to ring bells 108 times to commemorate the passing of the old year and the coming of the new year, and of the 108 human desires that are thought to be the cause of human suffering, one desire is dispelled with each tolling of the bells.


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