Bronze. Dong Son culture, c.3rd – 2nd century BC.
Diameter of the upper face: 61cm. Diameter of the base: 60cm. Height: 98cm.
Discovered in Dao Thinh commune, Tran Yen district, Yen Bai province.
The Dao Thinh jar was discovered in 1961. It is a special artefact with its large size and distinctive decoration. When it was found, there was a smaller jar inside which contained ash and human remains.
The jar has a cylindrical shape which is gradually smaller towards the base.
The lid has the shape of a truncated cone. In the middle of the lid, there is a 12-ray sun surrounded by 11 circle bands of decoration reflecting vividly people’s life and society, such as saw’s teeth, tangent circles, boats, disguised warriors, feathers, and so on.
The most notably feature of this object is the lid with its depictions of four couples embracing in the act of love. The male figures have their hair untied; they have daggers at their hips, and wear loincloths. Their female partners wear short skirts. It may be presumed that the artist’s aim was to celebrate ideas of human fertility and the fruitfulness of all natural life.
This is the largest bronze jar ever discovered. It is strikingly rich in design, its distinctive scale and adornments making it well worth study and display as a particularly notable National Treasure.