A Real Master of Gong

Lin Wu Ironworks

For several thousand years, big and small gongs accompanied the life of Chinese, sad or happy. The process to make a gong is a part of the precious skills of Taiwan. "Lin Wu Ironworks is the most senior institute in making gong with a history of over six decades. Due to the order to forbid "drum music" during the Japanese Occupation, Wu Lin, good at fixing music instruments with problems, bought two iron gongs from a dismissed theatrical troupe. He studied on how to make a gong and started the business of his family of making a gong.

In 1985, Wu Lin and his sons finished a six-chi (2 meters) big gong customized for Beigang Mazu Temple. It was the biggest gong in Taiwan then. Since then, Lin Wu Ironworks had many wonderful stories and achievements as of gong. Lieh-chi Lin is the son who inherits the most skills of his father. Since 14, he followed his father to learn how to make a gong with diligence and perseverance. He believed that innovation was derived from breakthrough of oneself and challenge. Lin Wu Gong is still the most famous gong in Taiwan.

He made several "records" in the history of "gong". For Lieh-chi Lin, they were special experiences in his life. The gongs made by him become artworks driving him to produce more. Thanks to his perverseness to tradition and creation, Lin Wu Gong did not disappear along with the decline of traditional processes, but stands high on the stage at the transitional period.

Major Events of Lin Wu Ironworks
Year Events
1916 Wu Lin, the first master in making gong in Taiwan, was born.
1949 Lin Wu Ironworks was founded in Yilan.
1955 Lieh-chi Lin, a successor of Lin Wu Gong, was born.
1985 Wu Lin made a big gong with a diameter of 5.6 chi for Yunlin County Beigang Chaotian Temple
1987 Wu Lin received Folk Art Heritage Awards from Ministry of Education.
1989 Wu Lin, a Taiwanese master of gong, passed away.
1992 Lieh-chi Lin made a big gong with a diameter of 7.85 chi for Changhua Lukang Tianhou Temple, which was the biggest gong in the world then and recorded Guinness World Records and received the title of "Taiwan Gong Master".
1995 Lieh-chi Lin received the Global Chinese Culture & Art Award.
1998 U-Theatre created "Listening to the Sound of the Ocean" based on the story of Lin Wu Gong which was displayed at Festival d'Avignon OFF.
2007 Lieh-hui Lin, Lieh-chung Lin, and Lieh-chi Lin, three brothers, made a set of 25 scale gongs for National Center for Traditional Arts.
2008 Lieh-chi Lin made a big gong with a diameter of 7.95 chi for Yunlin County Xiluo Township Chaoxing Temple.
2011 Dawn Studio worked with Lin Wu Gong to be invited to display their works

Photo credit: Thunder King of Drums

Reference:

  1. http://news.ltn.com.tw/news/life/breakingnews/1433556
  2. https://www.taiwan-panorama.com/tw/ 
  3. http://www.ntcri.gov.tw/searchall.html?q=林午鐵工廠
  4. http://www.ncfta.gov.tw/events/inheritance4/family_2.asp 
  5. http://www.cna.com.tw/magazine/7/201506250004-1.aspx

 

 

Gong Master

Introduction :

  1. Deafening Gong Studio
  2. China Times praised him as "a great master who lives in seclusion and produces great gongs".
  3. He is one of the few existing great masters in making a gong by hands in Taiwan.
  4. In 2011, he received the title of "master of traditional art" and became the 12th protected traditional artist.
  5. He made a "bian gong" of a set of 28 gongs by simulating "bianzhong".
  6. He spent 15 years perfecting it into a scale gong with
    international standard sounds.

 

Tsung-lin Wu got involved in making gongs due to his fond of a gong's sounds. He has engaged in making a gong by hands for three decades and made more than 6,000 gongs. The largest one is 167 cm, while the smallest one is as small as a fist. Tsung-lin Wu's gongs are made of natural materials with beautiful and simple appearance and perfect resonance. He created a unique gong toning mechanism with his sharp and subtle perception to sounds. He talks with bronze via each of his work. One can feel the soul of bronze and the depth of his life by appreciating his works.

Among the gongs in the bianluo made by him, some can be played for solo, while others for accompaniment. Sometimes they are loud and imposing, while sometimes they are quiet and melodious. "Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort" located in Wulai cooperated with Mr. Tsung-lin Wu to launch "Gong Performance across the Lake". Every day at 4 pm, one will hear Mr. Wu beat fengluo, while the Art Director of Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort responds with drumming. The performance of gong and drum across the lake lasts for 15 minutes. The lively performance ends in quietness, full of Zen spirit. Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort collects a great artwork of him, named "Summer Gong".

In addition to the production of big gongs and scale gongs, he combines gong with home accessories. He begins to produce some artwork with the connotation of longevity by integrating gong with root carving. Combined with the culture of ethnic minorities in Wulai, he makes small gong decorations, and big gong for display. His gongs become ornaments and souvenirs with special characteristics. Tsung-lin Wu loves gongs deeply. He dedicates his life in making gongs. And he passes down his skills to his son, hoping that the traditional art of gong can be carried forward in Taiwan.

Photo credit: Thunder King of Drums

Reference:

  1. http://www.merit-times.com.tw/NewsPage.aspx?unid=241362
  2. http://big5.taiwan.cn/zppd/GXMR/201110/t20111017_2108683.htm
  3. https://www.peopo.org/news/89844
  4. http://artist-map.ntpc.gov.tw/artist_map2/xmdoc?xsmsid=0G287420917498312798