Brian Stephenson Fine Art

Asian Ethnographic Art

Bronze Gong

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Hand beaten Javanese bronze Middle Voice Gong Kempul


Item-Description:Hand beaten Javanese bronze Middle Voice Gong Kempul
Origin:Indonesia - Java
Dimensions:Diameter 56 cm; weight approx. 9kg
Age:Late 18th, Early 19th century
Provenance:Collected Java 1980
Condition:Old with a great patina; no cracks or visible damage.
Notes:Cast then hand beaten bronze gong with two holes for suspension; pronounced boss, wide face and deep rim with rim sloping backwards to the centre line of the gong.

From the java or Bali Gamelon set. Gamelon uses two types of gong, Vertically Suspended and Horizontal. Vertically Suspended gongs are the largest gongs in the Gamelon orchestra. They are used to begin, end and punctuate different segments of the music. There are three types of these large gongs; base voice, middle voice and trebble. The most famous Java gong is the base voice Gong Ageng usually around 100cm in diameter. The Java middle voice gong is the Gong Kempul at around 40 to 50 cm in diameter and used to punctuate the mid point of the musical cycle. In Bali it is called the Gong Kempur and is usually 42 to 62 cm in diameter. Both these types of gong have a clean bell like tone. The treble voice gong is the Kemang in both Java and Bali. All Vertically Suspended gongs are played with a heavy padded mallet. Because of its size, this gong may be a Balinese Gong Kempur. Its sound pitch is around A.