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Bảo tàng lịch sử Quốc gia

Vietnam National Museum of History

05/05/2018 16:12 1426
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Dao Thinh jar, bronze, Dong Son culture, c. 2,500-2,000 BP.

Dao Thinh jar, bronze, Dong Son culture, c. 2,500-2,000 BP.

The Dao Thinh jar was discovered in 1961 in Tran Yen village, Yen Bai province. It is a special artefact with its large size and the most distinctive decoration of its type ever discovered. The jar’s main function was to serve as a food storage container. However, when it was found, there was a smaller jar inside which contained ash and human teeth, indicating that the jar was also used as a coffin. The jar has a cylindrical shape that 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. The most notable 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. The jar’s body is decorated with 25 bands of decoration in relief, including saw’s teeth, tangent circles, birds, and six engravings of curved bow boats with rudders. On the boats are warriors carrying crossbows, spears and fighting axes, which manifests high level of battle boat building technique and military art of the Dong Son people in this period. The jar is considered a rare and precious artefact that carries messages from the past to the future about the tradition of building and defending the country, as well as the belief in fertility of the ancient inhabitants of Van Lang.