Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 15 - Historical Precedent

Day 15

Learn about something that happened today in history and make something inspired by it.


Rhinoceros Beetle Gong

I now realize I may have misread the prompt. I thought I had to merely learn about some piece of history and use that as inspiration, but I'm sure on this day 1,000 years ago, 500 years ago, or even last year, a gong was sounded. Oh well! On the 15th I went to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix and based my project on the many gongs in their collection. They had a display illustrating how gongs are traditionally made (i.e. - labor intensive), and I learned that there are generally three types of gongs (suspended gongs or tam-tams which are flat; bossed which have a raised center, are tuned, and sometimes suspended; and bowl gongs which are more like large bells). They originated in China, their first uses are thought to be as a signal for the workers to return from the fields since some gongs are loud enough to be heard within a five mile radius, and to clear the way for official processions. Shortly thereafter they were adopted by temple monks. Today they are still used in temples as well as Chinese opera, sumo matches, and as part of an orchestra among other uses.

Side Bar: I got to sound a suspended bossed gong and bowl gongs at the MIM. :)

Mini Rhinoceros Beetle Gong: Many of the suspended gongs I saw had elaborate carvings in their frames, dragons being very popular. I thought the aesthetics of the rhinoceros beetle fit in well as end-cap carvings on the top beam. This is made from a piece of plastic my Dad found in his yard (I used a rotary tool to carve the beetle shape), wood dowels and a metal washer that were lying around in the garage, a penny, string, whiteout, sharpie marker, and glue. The hammer is made from a hollow screw, toothpick, ink, and glue. The background is a ceramic tile that was lying in the garage and a piece of wood we've been using as a cutting board. My "Machinist" helped out by cutting and notching the wood dowels and drilling holes in the washer.

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