Thai Gongs have a very fundamental and focused tone, not like the crash and wash of a Chinese Gong, and are most often found in Thai and Burmese temples, used in Thai or Burmese Traditional Music, or played in households to turn away bad spirits.
Thai Gongs are perfect for meditation as they produce a relaxing tone that resonates purely and penetrates the soul. They can be tuned to specific pitches. Click here for Tuned Thai Gongs
Often Thai gongs are black with an etched lotus flower design. The black crust is the result of the fire used in the gong making process and the lotus design is produced by grinding or etching away the black crust. We also have Thai Gongs with various Buddha designs and antique finishes.
This black crust on this particular Thai Gong has been completely lathed away to reveal the shiny bronze underneath.
Thai Gong Making Process for 18" Gong
It takes 6 workers close to 10 hours to make an 18" Thai gong. They work during the night-time because the fire pit is too hot for daytime work and because they need to see the color of the coals to determine if the fire is at the right temperature for gong making.
Starting with the casting of a 6" bronze disc, the bronze casting is held with a huge pair of tongs in the fire pit until it turns red in color. The worker holding the tongs is assisted by a young apprentice who pulls a chain attached to the tongs so the heavy bronze disc can be placed on an anvil in the dirt floor of the factory. While on the anvil, the red hot casting is turned clockwise with the tongs for one full rotation while three other workers hammer the gong in a rhythmical beat of 3, flattening it just a little bit on each rotation.
Then...back into the fire pit to repeat this process for the next 7-8 hours until the bronze disc is flattened to the right diameter and thin enough to produce a good sound. The workers then hammer the bronze in a variety of molds to form the nipple and the wide edge. Once the gong is in the correct shape it goes into the water tank to temper and cool and then is fine tuned for both sound and pitch.
This a completely hand-made gong. There are NO machines used in this process. Not even a fan to maintain the temperature of the fire...that is done by a worker pumping the bellows.