We have one Javanese gamelan set at Mekar Bhuana: a very old set that based on its organology, patina and ornamentation dates to the first half of the 19th century. Originally from Semarang, it was formerly commissioned by a wealthy Chinese-Indonesian family: the carvings on the wooden casings have distinctive Chinese motifs, including depictions of the mythological creature qilin that is believed to bring prosperity and good fortune.
It is a pelog set that, based on its instrumentation and low tuning, has been categorized as a pakurmatan-style orchestra.
Uniquely, it has very large instrument sizes and includes archaic court instruments, such as a bonang panembung (with the largest pot being 42 cm in diameter!) and a kenong japan (that weighs 19.5 kg!).
As this is a fairly recent purchase, due to the pandemic we have not begun to restore the set: it needs a lot of love and attention due to its age and to the fact that it has not been used for many decades. The tuning process alone would take many weeks and then there are the wooden casings, some of which are fairly damaged and will need specialist skills to rehabilitate.
The large gong ageng did not come with the instruments as the owner’s price was beyond our budget. You can be part of this reconstruction and restoration project by helping us fund raise to buy the 90 cm gong in its original frame. Contact us today to find out how you can contribute.