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Jakarta Post

Forging gamelan in Central Java

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 11 2012   /  06:40 am

Detailed: A craftsman works to finish a gong in Surakarta, Central Java. Gongs take the longest to finish of a gamelan set because it takes five days to form the shape alone.Unlike previous days, the house of Saroyo, an empu or master craftsman of gamelan, saw no hammering of metal or burning fires one Saturday morning.

Workers in his gamelan workshop termed a besalen in Wirun village in Sukoharjo, Central Java, were busily preparing offerings in the form of chicken, cone-shaped rice, water steeped in flower petals and incense, among others.

Saroyo said a big undertaking would begin that Saturday Pahing (the second day of Java’s five-day week), seen as a “fortunate day”. That undertaking was the crafting of a full set of gamelan instruments, which in the tradition of Javanese society is marked by a ritual.“The ritual is called Gongso Ageng, a ceremony to appeal f...