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date: 09 December 2019


  • Gavin Douglas


Percussion plaque of Myanmar. It is a suspended plate of thick sand-cast brass or bronze. The ornate triangular outline with upturned lower corners (like the roof of a pagoda) recalls the mythical Mt Meru, centre of the Buddhist cosmological universe. Often one side bears elaborate decoration featuring an elephant. Sizes vary from about 8 cm wide to more than 45 cm; large ones are often hung from an outside corner of a temple and struck to mark a donation. Otherwise it is suspended in a wooden frame and struck with a small mallet during religious ceremonies or after the prayers of a single devotee at a religious pagoda or a monastery. It is struck at the side and creates an increasing and decreasing pulsing sound as it spins. It is thus one of the few instruments whose sound depends on phase shifting.

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