Wooden Gongs

This enormous Slit Gong is a wooden gong, similar types of which are found all throughout the South Pacific.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a collection of them on display in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas collection.  This particular one comes from Vanuatu.  It is quite remarkable to see gongs made out of wood, though I have also seen gongs sets made out of carved stone in China. 

I have in my collection a wooden gong that was used in Chinese temple ceremonies. It has two fish heads at the top and is quite worn on one side.  It doesn’t have the most pleasant ring to it.

Chinese Slit Gong, Collection of Joel Garten

Chinese Slit Gong, Collection of Joel Garten

Chinese Slit Gong, Collection of Joel Garten

I also have a Burmese (Myanmar) wooden slit gong or bell.  Its clappers on the outside of the gong and shaped like elephants.  This is apparently a cow bell for an elephant (or elephant bell!).  It produces a wonderful clear sound.

Burmese Wooden Gong, Collection of Joel Garten

I have two Cambodian wooden bells, which I assume are also elephant bells due to their large size. They have a delightful bright sound to them.

Cambodian Wooden Gongs, Collection of Joel Garten

Cambodian Wooden Gongs, Collection of Joel Garten

I recently has a dream about the Chinese gong, and as I was looking at the Metropolitan Museum website I came across the slit gong above, and I remember wandering through the beautiful Oceania collection area in the museum, which I have done many times.  As I looked through my collection I realized I had two more wooden gongs, and I never realized I had so many.  Now I hope to build on that collection.  As I finish this post, I just received a call from my mother, filled with ululations from sheep, as she was at a sheep farm and put the phone up to the sheep so they could talk to me.

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