A COPPER ALLOY RITUAL DRUM DONG SON CULTURE, VIETNAM, CIRCA 3RD/2ND CENTURY B.C.
Lot 36
A COPPER ALLOY RITUAL DRUM
DONG SON CULTURE, VIETNAM, CIRCA 3RD/2ND CENTURY B.C.
HK$ 400,000 - 600,000
US$ 51,000 - 77,000

Lot Details
A COPPER ALLOY RITUAL DRUM DONG SON CULTURE, VIETNAM, CIRCA 3RD/2ND CENTURY B.C. A COPPER ALLOY RITUAL DRUM DONG SON CULTURE, VIETNAM, CIRCA 3RD/2ND CENTURY B.C.
A COPPER ALLOY RITUAL DRUM
DONG SON CULTURE, VIETNAM, CIRCA 3RD/2ND CENTURY B.C.

Height 35.2 cm (14 in). ;
Base diameter 56 cm (22 in). ;
Top diameter 42 cm (16 ½ in).

Footnotes

  • 越南 西元前二/三世紀 東山青銅鼓

    Published:
    Nguyen van Huyen, The Bronze Dong Son Drums, Dong Son Editions, Singapore, 1989, p.270

    Provenance:
    Ha Van Tan, Hong Kong
    Private Californian Collection, acquired from the above in 2000

    In the 16th and 17th Century, Dutch explorers travelled to Indonesia in pursuit of spice and the expansion of maritime trade network. The early accounts of these European explorers documented the island natives calling these metal pieces "thunder stones."

    The Dong Son drums are known as the "thunder stones" because oral tradition described them as objects that fell from the skies during rain storms. With the torrental rains these ancient bronzes which had been buried for two millenniums were revealed and washed to the surface.

    To this day, the histories and the people of the Dong Son culture are largely unknown, but from their bronze legacies, they were highly sophisticated metallurgists and artisans. Documented history from China provides literary sources and evidence of the existence of these drums. For instance, according to Pal in Art from Sri Lanka & Southeast Asia, the Chinese general Ma Yuan (14 B.C.E. – 49 C.E.) seized a large number of drums and melted them down to make a model horse.

    The indigenous populations in the area where these drums are found no longer have the bronze production technology as such Dong Son drums were regarded as mythical objects and "heirloom objects" within the culture. For further discussion see "The Kettle Drums of Southeast Asia: A Bronze Age World and its Aftermath" (Modern Quaternary Research in Southeast Asia), 1998.

    There are two similar "heirloom bronzes" of similar history, in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, that includes a chandrasa and a basin, see Brown, "Selections from the Southeast Asian Art Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art", Arts of Asia, May-June 2008, pp.75-87, no.38(3). It is suggested that when these works were excavated, indigenous peoples took sharp shells or stones, and scraped the archaeological encrustation off to reveal the patterns. Over the years, the secondary patina was developed from use and was venerated within the culture that inherited these objects. Evidence of the use of the drum can be found in a stone carving showing two warriors carrying a 'kettle drum' from Airpurah, Sumatra, see Hingham, The Bronze Iron Age of Southeast Asia, Cambridge, 1996 pl.31.

    According to the classification established by F. Heger, Alte metalltramels aus sudost Asien, Leipzig, 1902, the present lot is a 'pre-Heger 1 type'. Heger 1 drums are considered to be the earliest. Also compare with examples in Pham Huy Thong, Dong Son Drums in Vietnam, Hanoi 1990, pp.90-91.
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