Desa Tihingan is a Balinese village with
a special craft, producing gong instruments. It is the
only village in Bali with such a craft, which is a cause
for pride amongst the people of Klungkung Regency. Located
in Klungkung, it is about three kilometers west of Klungkung
city, about 45 km from Denpasar.
Most people in Tihingan Village devote their time to produce
gambelan, instruments of traditional music ensembles in
what is a traditional home industry. One of the is Wayan
Mustika, who is the father of four children. He has inherited
the skill from his father who was active in the craft
since the 1920s during the Dutch colonial period.
Speaking of the craft, Mustika said the basic materials
used in making one complete set of gong instruments consists
of bronze and tin procured from Yogyakarta and Solo in
Central Java. Other materials used in the gong instrument
industry are jackfruit wood (artocarpus integer) as the
gamelan base and cord made from cow skin to attach the
gamelan to its base. Transparent plastic cord is a permissible
variation from cow skin.
The production process is as follows:
- Melting of tin and bronze in a furnace;
- Mixture is then put in a model made of bricks and
stony soil, and the mixture coagulates within 10 minutes;
- Modeled formation of material like a plate taken
Out of furnace;
- Modeled instrument to be refined by means of a
mechanical apparatus and rubbing with sandpaper;
- Testing of melody to check the sound;
- Installing the tested modeled formation to the
wooden base by means of cow skin cord.
Wayan Mustika added that a complete set of gong instruments
needs more than 300 kg of bronze and tin, while the
many partial jobs to finish production of a gong instrument
set could take ten workers six months to complete. The
price for a set of gamelan instruments ornamented with
“prada” carving starts at Rp 140,000,000.
The gamelan market includes Bali, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara,
and Sulawesi (Celebes).
Buyers come to the instrument production site directly
to order the traditional musical instruments. Overseas
visitors from Germany, America and Australia have been
among the purchasers, generally just to buy some elements
of a gamelan ensemble set.