Along with Nha nhac court music in Hue, Cong Chieng (Gong) is acknowledged to be the intangible cultural heritage of the world.
The space of culture in Central Highlands of Vietnam covers five provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong. The gongs are closely related to the Central Highland’s citizens. This is the sound of the spirit, the soul of people to express the joy and sadness of the daily working and living lives.
The gongs are made of brass alloy or a mixture of brass and gold, silver, bronze. Their diameter is from 20cm to 60cm or from 90cm to 120cm. A set of gongs consists of 2 to 12 or 13 units and even to 18 to 20 units in some places.
The Gongs are originated in the long tradition which is said to be the descendent of Lithophone. Before the bronze culture, people have used the tools in stone and bamboo. In the people’s sense, after each gong is a God. The more ancient the gong is, the more powerful it gots. The Gong is precious and the symbol of wealth. That was a period when a gong is equal to two elephant or 20 buffalos.
In the festival, the image of people playing gongs and dancing around a fire makes the Central Highland more romantic and magical. Therefore, the Gongs make the culture of Central Highland more grandiose.
According to the statistics of Gia Lai department of culture and information, before 1980, there are thousands of sets of gong in the villages of Giarai and Bana ethnic people. Some families own two or three sets. Until 1999, there is only 5,117 sets in the whole province and until 2002, that number is only 3,000. The Lam Dong province has only 3,113 sets.
This is due to the lost or the unequal value with the selling at the price of wasted iron. This is an urgent problems in preserving the Cong Chieng (Gongs) in Vietnam.