Bossed Gongs

Akha beuleu; Mien bo lor (large),bo mang (small); Khamu rbaang, moong, creeng; Lahu bulo ko

also played by Lantaen, Kachin, Karen (Sgaw, Pwo, Pa O, Padaung, Kayah), Shan, Palaung, Tai Lue, Tai Neua

collection Victoria Vorreiter

made of bronze in a circular shape with the surface flat or bulging and the rim bent down. . They are usually struck with a soft padded beater but the Kachin use a wooden mallet instead to produce a harder, cymbal-like sound.

Bossed metal gongs are played by all the main ethnic groups except the Lisu and Hmong, usually along with other percussion instruments, sometimes to accompany dances but more often at temple festivals or weddings and all major cermonies and festivities. Traditionally gongs have carried great significance in war, religious occasions, celebrations and musical performances. They were used to make important announcements. They were often credited with strong magic powers, helping to ward off sickness and drive away bad spirits. They were considered a token of prosperity and regarded a having great value.

collection Victoria Vorreiter

Gong played in Akha ceremonial music

The Shan (also the Palaung) mount three or four gongs of different sizes suspended vertically on a wooden frame (in Thai, mong jum) for festive occasions. They have also borrowed from the Burmese and Thai sets of tuned gongs laid on a horizontal frame.

Palaung gongs used at New Year ceremony

The Shan (like the Northern Thai) also use a sort of ‘gong machine’ of four to six or more gongs in which the gongs are struck by beaters attached to one or more levers.

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