Gong was originated in minorities, has been widely used through dynasties. It was called “jin”, was used in the army when troops were to be treated, so there was a saying: strike “jin” to call back the troops. In Yuan Dynasty when 杂剧(consorted play) appeared, gang was used as one of the major accompanying instruments. It also played a key role in the accompanyment of Kunqu Opera during Ming and Qing Periods.


Gongs are normally divided into four kinds: big, small, palm and chime gongs.The diameter of big ones is usually one Chinese “Chi” , which is 33.33 cm.

The dismeter of small ones is six and a half Chinese inches. There is a flat square in the center. It is often used for decorative purposes.

A palm gong is held in the left hand, the right hand usually strikes it with a board. It is quite commonly used in Peking Opera.Chime gongs were used in the Yuan Dynasty at court banquets. There was no set number of gongs. A set of 10 was common, there were also 13 or 14 a set and even 24 a set.







The picture above is part of a mural at Yongle Palace which shows how chime gongs were played in the Yuan Dynasty.