Museums in Vietnam – the National Museum of Vietnamese History in Hanoi and the Haiphong Museum – are loaning ancient religious and domestic objects for this exhibition.
Most come from archaeological excavations, although some were chance finds. Visitors will learn about the ancient history of this part of the Indochinese Peninsula and about how people lived on the territory of modern Vietnam from the second half of the first millennium BC through to the early first millennium AD, on the eve of the emergence of statehood.
Particularly worthy of note is the Dong Son culture. Famous worldwide, Dong Son bronze drums bear representations of ritual scenes and processions, figures of people and animals and geometrical ornament. This exhibition will include the largest drum in Vietnam, some 85 cm high and with a diameter of 124 cm. Contemporary to the Dong Son culture was the Sa Huynh culture of the central part of Vietnam, along the shores of the South China Sea, known above all for its funerary artefacts. The remains of the dead were buried in large ceramic urns along the river terraces. This exhibition will include one burial vessel and several small urns. Among the characteristic artefacts of the Sa Huynh culture are stone and glass earring pendants in the form of animals. Similar pieces are also found in the south of modern Vietnam, territory of the Dong Nai culture and later of the Oc Eo culture, also represented in the exhibition, with ceramic vessels, jewellery and other objects of precious metals made by ancient goldsmiths.