NMM 2333-2334. Pair of telescoping trumpets (zangs dung), Tibet, 19th-early 20th century. Collapsible copper bodies facilitate transport. Applied brass fittings in finely detailed repoussé on NMM 2334 depict the eight auspicious, or sacred, symbols, in addition to seven different Buddha scenes, showing the stages of enlightenment. Played in pairs, usually serving as a drone element in monastic ensembles, with occasional florid melodic passages. Measurements for the pair: length (extended): 64.5" (1638 mm); length (collapsed): 29.5" (749 mm); bell diameter: 7" (178 mm). Ringley Fund, 1977.
Dung chen, literally, "great trumpet," are made from several different materials and are typically identified by association with those materials, including brass (rag dung), copper (zangs dung) and silver (dngul dung). As a result of early scholars encountering brass trumpets (rag dung) before other types, these were thought to be the most common. For this reason, many dung chen are generically and mistakenly referred to as rag dung. This instrument is constructed primarily of copper; therefore, its correct identification is zangs dung. The only two systematic distinctions that can be made in classifying dung chen are (1) the number of telescoping sections into which each collapses (two or three); and (2) the overall extended length of the instrument.