Central Highland Gia Lai province is currently having more than 5,600 sets of gongs, a musical percussion instrument that earned UNESCO’s world intangible heritage recognition for its cultural space.
According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, 1,116 sets of gong are kept in 92 villages in La Grai district and 131 other sets are preserved in 104 villages in Dac Doa district.
At present, the province has 600 gong troupes and 20 artisans who master the sound of gongs.
Taking the form of a flat mental disc which is hit by a malleta, the gongs are closely linked to daily life and the cycles of seasons, producing a privileged language between men, divinities and the supernatural world.
Every family possesses at least one gong which indicates the family’s wealth, authority and prestige and also acts as the protection for the owner as behind every gong is a god or goodness who is all the more powerful when the gong is older.
The cultural space of gongs in the Central Highlands was recognised as one of the world’s intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2005.