The Gong

Do you know what this is? 


a close shot of a gong


In Malaysia, it is known as ‘gong’. In the old days, ‘gong’ was used as musical instrument in ritual ceremonies and wedding ceremonies. Today the gong is kept as part of a family heirloom. In my family heirloom possession, we have 4 old gongs which were inherited from our ancestors and more gongs to keep as we are also keen in buying antique gong. 😉


During my brother’s wedding held at Keningau, Sabah, gongs were played during the wedding ceremony. Being a very curious person especially in material culture, I asked the elder people whether there is any story behind the gong among the Kadazan Dusun community.



the gong are placed nicely in a row and played by 7 players


a row of 7 gongs


I was told that there must be seven gongs as the number 7 represent 7 children of a reputable couple (I’ve forgotten the name ;p ) based on a local legend story. The number 7 is also seen as lucky number among the community.


Any Sabahan reader out there can share on this legend story?


  1. stprada

    1 August, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    The names probably varies according to districts, but for us in Tambunan, a sompogungan (a set of 6 gongs) consist of
    Saasalakan, Naananagon, Hahambatan, Kuukulimpoon, Tootoongon, Tatabag and a gandang (drum). The beat varies according to d occasion too. It would be quite scary to hear the dunsai beat at night thou, coz it signals that someone has just passed away. 🙂

    The 7 children story is related to the legend of Nunuk Ragang where the origin of Dusun people are said to have come from. 🙂

    1. ladybirdmollyz

      1 August, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      oh yes, gong also played a role as an instrument to inform the villager on death in the old days. probably by other indigenous group in borneo as i never heard the gong is used to inform about death in my village. 😉

      so the 7 children story is related to the Dusun. interesting. would love to hear it more. 🙂

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