Vietnam/Shan state/Myanmar, Dong Son Culture

6th century BCE– 3rd century CE

Copper alloy

19¼ × (dia) 24½ in. (48.9 × [dia] 62.2 cm)

Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas, 1982.19

Piece Description:

Kettle drums, which were sounded by long poles, according to depictions on some drums, are shared among the cultures previously identified as “Dian” (Yunnan and adjacent regions in South China) and “Dong Son” in northern Vietnam. The Dong Son culture, centered on the Red River Delta, was present in Southeast Asia as far south as eastern Indonesia starting around 600 BCE until the third century CE. This drum has been linked to similar drum forms found in the Shan State, the largest Province in modern Myanmar (Burma). The use of such drums is a matter of speculation that ranges from roles in religious ceremonies for harvest or burials, practical matters such as summoning men for war, or more secular purposes. In folklore they are known as “rain drums” that were used to summon rain or placate storms.


The circular tympanum is the main space for decoration on Dong Son drums. This drum follows a familiar use of a radiating eight-pointed star at the center, set in concentric rings of alternating geometric lines and designs. Circular patterns, associated with the sun, are combined with raised emblems symbolic of rain. Aquatic motifs are usually illustrated on these drums, and near the outer edge of this drum top are four equidistant groups of cast-on frogs, all facing the same direction. Each section has three frogs, one atop the other in descending size.





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Letter: S

Calculators meet relaxation at this green sitting area.