A Zen Desk Gong is a beautiful piece of Zen decor to add to any room.
Whether it is on a mantle, hutch, table, or your office desk – it will be a reminder of its origins.
A Zen desk gong originates from the gongs of China during the Bronze Age.
They had multiple uses and meanings, which helped them to become very popular and spread throughout the world.
While a desktop gong may just look like a smaller version of a regular gong, it is so much more!
Below I will go over the different names, history, uses, and meanings behind a gong. I will also try to describe how a mini gong can be incorporated into your everyday life!
What is a Zen Desk Gong?
A zen desk gong is essentially a smaller version of the larger gongs. They can also be called desktop gongs, mini gongs, table top gongs, etc..
Gongs originated as musical instruments in the percussion family.
As they became popular and began to spread across the world, they began to change shapes, sizes, and styles.
There are generally two styles of gongs: hanging and bowl.
Hanging or suspended gongs are flat and hung from a structure. They are usually played by being hit with a mallet. They can also have a raised nipple in the center to give it a specific sound.
Bowl gongs are bowl-shaped and usually sit on a pillow. They can be hit with a mallet or played by rubbing the rim with the musicians finger.
Touching or playing a gong is believed to give a person good luck, health, and happiness. However, a gong must be treated with the highest respect and permission should always be given before playing or touching.
Before going any deeper, let’s go back and review the history of the gong.
History of the Gong
The history of the gong can be dated back to the Bronze Age somewhere around 3,500 BC.
They are believed to have originated in China and spread throughout Southeast Asia. Although some believe the gong first originated somewhere between Myanmar (Burma) and Tibet.
Gongs were usually a symbol of higher status and success in Asian cultures and gong making techniques were often kept a secret. If a person was found buried with a gong it usually represented wealth or power.
Later, gongs made their way to Java, which is the big island of Malaysia. The word “gong” is actually of Javanese origin. From here they spread to Africa and later made their way into Europe.
What is a Gong Used For?
Gongs have many different uses and many people have their own beliefs.
Some of the different uses include mediation, healing powers, music, forms of communication, alerts, and announcements.
Gongs were often used to inform people a ceremony was about to start or that an important person was approaching.
It was also used in private concerts and orchestras.
Gongs can be tuned for different frequencies which makes them a powerful instrument to be used in healing and mediation.
Many mediation halls and monasteries use gongs to help people reach different levels of consciousness.
There have even been places that tune multiple gongs to the different frequencies of the planets and universe.
How Are Gongs Made?
Gongs should be made from a bronze alloy containing about 75% copper, 20% tin, and 5% nickel. Although, sometimes this ratio can change and some are made from Brass.
The gongs are then heated, hit with a mallet, molded, and cooled. The process can then be repeated until the artisan has the desired shape and hardness of the gong.
It is said that gongs cannot be manufactured or mass produced, so every gong you see is hand-made and has its own unique sound.
One of my favorite things about handmade Zen decor is the reminder that someone crafted this beautiful piece of art with their own hands!
If you can, make sure to buy a desktop gong that is hand crafted!
Gong making was also a very well-kept secret and gong artisans would never tell their technique or process for making gongs!
This helped to make every gong unique, while giving rise to the different sounds and styles around the globe.
Luckily, the gong making secrets were passed down through generations and eventually became available to the public. Although I’m sure some secrets remain unknown!
Types of Gongs
I mentioned previously that there were two distinct types of gongs – suspended and bowl. This is the most basic way to separate gongs.
However, there are actually many, many different styles and an endless amount of variations.
A few different styles of gongs are: Java gong, Bali gong, Chau gong, Nipple gong, Pasi gong, Tiger gong, Wind gong, Sculpture gong, and many more!
Below is a video going over a few of the different flat-faced and bossed (nipple) gongs. It is also a great example of what some of these gongs sounds like while played.
What are the Benefits of a Mini Gong?
To me, the benefits of a mini gong are just a reminder of what an actual gong represents and a reminder to myself to return my mind to the present.
I like to have different pieces of Zen decor around my house to help remind me of different places of mediation and states of mind.
When I look at a Zen desk gong or desktop gong, I can actually hear the sound of a gong and almost feel the vibration.
They are also just a beautiful piece of decor to have on your desk, table, hutch, etc.!
Depending on the size and quality of your table top gong, you can actually play it and feel the vibration.
One great technique for a small table top gong is to play it before every mediation session. After doing this a few times, your body will recognize it is about to enter a meditation session and help guide you into a meditative state faster.
You can also use it in your office to announce lunchtime or when your boss is approaching! Haha
Top 5 Best Zen Desk Gongs
Choosing my favorite Zen desk gong was very difficult because they are all so beautiful!
I also like many different styles, so I will give you my top 5 favorite mini desk gongs.
1. Woodstock Desk Gong
The Woodstock Desk Gong is a 6″ diameter brass gong. It is suspended from a wooden structure that is 10″ wide and 12″ tall.
Each Woodstock Desk Gong is handcrafted and hammered by a master gong maker. This ensures a rich, authentic, and unique sound!
This is my favorite desktop gong due to the authenticity.
2. Woodstock Hanging Gong
Another great mini gong by Woodstock is their Hanging Gong. This is a 10″ diameter brass gong, so it is a little larger. It is also 17″ wide.
This is perfect for actually hanging in an office or home and not the best for having in a cubicle.
This mini gong is also handcrafted by a master gong maker, so the sound will also be rich and unique.
3. Zildjian Table Top Gong & Set
This beautiful desktop gong is also a bit larger at 12″ in diameter but the stand makes it perfect for a table or desk.
Zildjian makes very well-made gongs with beautiful sounds. You know you are getting good quality with this gong, which is why it has received such good reviews.
If you are looking for a little larger gong with a nice stand, then this Zildjian Table Top Gong is a great fit for you.
4. Zen Art Brass Feng Shui Desktop Gong
This oriental feng shui desktop gong is more for decoration than actual use in my opinion. Mainly because the quality is a little lower but the art is beautiful.
The diameter of the gong is about 5″ so it is fairly small and the frame is about 8″x 8″. It comes with a wooden arch shaped frame and mallet. The material is brass.
5. Zen Art Brass Feng Shui Desk Gong
This Feng ShuiDesk Gong is almost the exact same model as the mini gong above. However this zen desk gong has a different arch on top and the gong is a slightly different color.
I still feel this is more of a decorative gong than an actual desk gong you will use. However, it is perfect for a cubicle or piece of zen decor on your mantle. Plus, it is very reasonably priced!
A Zen desk gong is a wonderful piece of zen decor to add to your home or office. Some can be purchased for under $20, so it is not a huge investment to be made for something so beautiful!
I feel a Zen desk gong is also a perfect gift because it is fairly inexpensive and feels a lot more personal than something like a gift card! Plus, the person will think of you every time it is played!
Just don’t buy a mini gong for the siblings of your friends or they may end up hating you ever time their kids play it!
There are many more desktop gongs that can be purchased and these are just my top 5. You may also be interested in Tibetan Sing Bowls or Desktop Zen Gardens.
If you did not find a table top gong that interested you in my above list, try checking out the list of bestselling desk gongs here.
If I missed a good one, please let me know in the comments below!