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Myanmar’s Big Bang with Giant Gongs

Under the tamarind trees on the grounds of the Zay Ya Mingalar monastery, the bronze age is finally giving way to the iron age. This is strikingly evident when a resident Buddhist monk slams a mallet into the center of a 2.5-diameter meter bossed gong, emanating a rumble that echoes across the courtyard. The giant instrument is testament to a technological breakthrough, as it is composed of iron ore. Traditionally gongs, ubiquitous in temples in the Ayeyarwady Region to the south,...

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