Saturday, 8/24/2019
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Bảo tàng lịch sử Quốc gia

Vietnam National Museum of History

10/01/2019 16:01 783
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There is not a random case when 2 bronze drums and 2 bronze statues of Dong Son culture were assigned the title of National Treasure in 1st review among 30 other artifacts. Bronze drums Ngoc Lu and Hoang Ha are quite famous so there is no need to advertise them more, Lach Truong bronze lamp is also deservedly a National Treasure and there are a lot of articles about it. So what about the rest statue?

There is not a random case when 2 bronze drums and 2 bronze statues of Dong Son culture were assigned the title of National Treasure in 1st review among 30 other artifacts. Bronze drums Ngoc Lu and Hoang Ha are quite famous so there is no need to advertise them more, Lach Truong bronze lamp is also deservedly a National Treasure and there are a lot of articles about it. So what about the rest statue?

This is the statue of of two men, one of them plays pipe sitting on the back of other. It’s an unique statue, perhaps it is most beautiful everamong known Dong Son statues.

Dong Son people were talented in bronze casting, they were authors of many statues made from ceramics, terracotta and bronze but bronze statues are more detailed in ornaments and have the good shine from bronze.  In Dao Thinh bronze situla  which also related to Dong Son culture are detailed figures of 5 tiny copulating couple so that we can see the man with loincloth and knife. Dong Son artisans poured ornaments of toads on the face of bronze drums and other animals as dogs, deers, pigs. Ornaments of human, tiger and snake also found in handles of Dong Son knives look like ornaments of modern applied art: the combination of statue and figure ornaments, the example is ornament of human playing pipe in handle of Viet Khe bronze spoon.

It should be noted that most of these ornaments are statues in motionless position unlike the statue of two men, [one of them plays pipe sitting on the back of other] which is in motion position, the man carrying partner on his back with one leg risen higher another as in dancing rhythm while another man regardfully playing pipe. Originality of the statue is liveliness of 2 men: Carrying man wears scarf in axe shape, loincloth with elongated end touching on earth which serves as 3rd foot together with his 2 own feet for a stable statue rack, his hands are firmly hugging the partner on his back. Another man carries pipe in his hands and regardfully blows it. Both men have round braids, pretty big jewelry in their ears. Their mouths, eyes and noses are described in detail.

The statue is rather small: 8.5 cm in height, 9.5 cm in width and 9.5 cm in thickness. Despite its small size, the statue is a masterpiece among Dong Son bronze statues due to its lively combination of shapes and ornaments, some of these ornaments are in the hair and arm of the statue. The statue was molded into earth mold, and we could find out that it was homogeneous in one piece and was not assembled from parts, this shows the skill of the bronze masters Dong Son, who can create a complex mould with tiny details that allow liquid bronze to be filled up during casting. In addition to its cultural value, the statue also includes many historical data from the Dong Son era. Age of the statue is estimated at hundreds of years B.C and though the emotion of the statue we could find the optimism of ancient Vietnamese that exactly corresponds to ancient manuscripts: “In Hung kingdom, king and his lieges drunk wine together and they enjoyed their unconcerned life in full optimism” The statue shows pipe musical instrument which was usually being described in bronze drums, axes, spoons. This is a popular musical instrument in era of Hung kingdom, we could find a musical group of those times with percussions (drums, bells, gongs), wind instruments (pipe). Pipe is long-lived musical instrument, until now many ethnic tribes (Hmong, Banar, Ede) in Vietnam recognize it inherent instrument, pipe instrument shows that in Dong Son culture of Hung kings many tribes together participated in the construction of the country, all of them were music addicted especially pipe music, The statue shows the scene of a music party of those times, ancient Vietnamese loved to dance while playing music. They wore necklaces with tiny bronze sonorous pipes called by scholars sonorous necklaces which they wore in their arms and feet, some earrings and waist chains also had sonorous pipes so that they sound as music while people are dancing. Dancing was very popular act of Dong Son culture, people danced in events as New Year and wedding, new crop. Today dancing is not so popular in Vietnamese community; some dances are presented only in some traditional musical genres.

It should be noted that the statue of two men, [one of them plays pipe sitting on the back of other] was found in famous Dong Son archeological investigation site about 80 years ago by French archeologist Pajot. The statue is now being presented in Historical museum of Vietnam. The originality of the statue is its exclusiveness, no other similar statue was found despite hundreds of Dong Son cultural stays and tombs were investigated.

 
 
 

 

                         Associated professor Trịnh Sinh

Translator Nguyen Thai Hung


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