Yunluo ("Cloud Gong")

Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

Date: 19th century

Geography: China

Culture: Chinese

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: Height (Of frame): 28 in. (71.1 cm)
Width: 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
Diameter (Of largest gong): 4 in. (10.2 cm)

Classification: Idiophone-Struck-gong

Credit Line: The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889

Accession Number: 89.4.15 a


The yunluo consists of ten tuned bronze gongs of varying thicknesses, which provide different pitches when struck with a small mallet. First cited in the early fourteenth century, this instrument was originally used at court and in Confucian ceremonies, but by the eighteenth century, it was also found at private rituals such as weddings and funerals. By the mid-twentieth century, it had been incorporated into large orchestras and was enlarged to twenty-four or more gongs struck with two mallets.