The cultural space of the gongs in the central highlands of Vietnam covers several provinces and seventeen Austro-Asian and Austronesian ethno-linguistic communities. Closely linked to daily life and the cycle of the seasons, their belief systems form a mystical world where the gongs produce a privileged language between men, divinities and the supernatural world. Behind every gong hides a god or goddess who is all the more powerful when the gong is older. Every family possesses at least one gong, which indicates the family’s wealth, authority and prestige, and also ensures its protection. While a range of brass instruments is used in the various ceremonies, the gong alone is present in all the rituals of community life and is the main ceremonial instrument.
The manner in which the gongs of Vietnam are played varies according to the village. Each instrumentalist carries a different gong measuring between 25 and 80 cm in diameter. From three to twelve gongs are played by the village ensembles, which are made up of men or women. Different arrangements and rhythms are adapted to the context of the ceremony, for example, the ritual sacrifice of the bullocks, the blessing of the rice or mourning rites. The gongs of this region are bought in neighbouring countries, and then Read more about this element in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage website.