Rare Antique Gongs and Their Origins.

Javanese Kempel Gong

The Original Purpose of Rare Antique Gongs

Firstly it may be observed that the word “gong” is in fact a case of an onomatopoeia. Their sound resembles their name when struck.

The antique, one of a kind gongs that we carry at Tiger Tiger fall into two categories. We have Burmese Temple gongs and Indonesian Gamelan Gongs. Burmese gongs were primarily used at temples as a call to worship and just as likely as a call to alarm the people of a local village or tribe in the event of a threat or attack.

Later Uses

Later, in the 1920’s they were arrayed in bamboo frames into what is known as a “Gong Rack”. They are tuned by filling the center with pitch and removing just the right amount to achieve the desired effect. There may be anywhere from 18 to 20 gongs of various sizes in a gallery or rack assembly.

Javanese (or Brunai) Gongs were made specifically for use in a Gamelan set, an array of different sized gongs ranging from maybe 10 inches across to over 36 inches in diameter. These gongs are unique in that they have very deep sides, with long sustain times. The smaller sizes are referred to as Kempel while the largest are called Gong Ageng. The preferred casting material is bronze, but they may be made from brass or steel as well. There may be as few as five in an ensemble or as many as 25 with specific groupings to be played in concert performances.

Modern Uses

Now, there is a trend in the Health and Wellness communities as well as Yoga Ashrams to use gongs as a meditation tool. “Gong Baths” are becoming more and more popular within these communities. Rather than striking the gong powerfully with a mallet, the player of the gong will use various tools to strike and rub the gong in such a way as to bring out sustained harmonic overtones and assorted ringtones or light dinging effects. Most people who have experienced a Gong Bath find it very relaxing and even spiritual in nature.

If you are interested in having something truly unique and one of a kind, have a look at our last remaining rare antique gongs in our shop before they are all “gong”.