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Jakarta Post

Javanese gong tells interesting tale at the British Museum

  • Helly Minarti

    Contributor

London   /   Thu, July 2 2009   /  01:36 pm

When Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles returned to the UK after his stint as Java's lieutenant-governor from 1811 to 1816, he took with him several souvenirs. One of these many souvenirs is now a focal point at the British Museum in London: A magnificent gong that was among the 100 cases Raffles managed to take to London in 1817 after having to hand back his island to the Dutch. The gong - the biggest metal instrument in Javanese gamelan orchestra - is part of a small exhibition titled "Gamelan: Music of Java", which is part of "Asahi Shimbun Display: Objects in Focus", a series that has been featuring objects from Asian cultures since 2006. The gong is on display in Room 3 at the British Museum until July 12. As part of the exhibit, anthropologist Felicia Hughes-Freeland has complemented the artifact with text and photographs that help put in contex...