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  Culture

Dong Son exhibit opens in capital

Winning bronze: Bronze baskets, artefacts from a private Hanoian collector, are displayed to the public for the first time

The National Museum of Vietnamese History opened its Dong Son Civilisation Exhibit on Wednesday to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dong Son artefacts’ discovery.

Museums in eight cities and three private collectors will show their almost 700 artefacts, found in the Ca Village along the Hong (Red) River, the Dong Son area along the Ma River and the Vac Village along the Ca River.

The artefacts from among those found in the largest discovery reflect the typical lifestyle of the Dong Son people more than 2,000 years ago. It also confirmed the existence of the Van Lang-Au Lac, the very first government of what is today the nation of Viet Nam.

"The displays help visitors to clearly understand the great creativity of the Bronze Age communities of South-east Asia in general and of Viet Nam in particular," said Nguyen Tuan Dai, head of the Museum’s Display and Dissemination Division. "Through the relics, experts can study the high quality bronze casting techniques that are difficult to do even today. The social lives and history of the period are also clearly represented."

The Dong Son civilisation was discovered when a fisherman stumbled upon some bronze wares 80 years ago in the Dong Son Village of Thanh Hoa Province.

After hearing of the discovery, French collector L. Pajot rushed to the site and began a large-scale excavation of the region. In 1929, a researcher from L’Ecole d’Extreme Orient (School of the Far East), Victor Goloubew, linked the Dong Son artefacts with others found in the Hong (Red) River Delta and presented them as Bronze Age relics.

The civilisation was born in the 2nd Century BC during the New Stone or Neolithic Age, and lasted until the end of the Iron Age when the Dong Son civilisation slowly integrated with foreign influences.

Experts believe the Dong Son people were in contact with the Dian civilisation of Yunnan, China, because of similar details in their handicrafts. Recent research by both domestic and foreign archaeologists suggest that the Dong Son civilisation was also a contemporary of the Ban Chiang and Non Nok in Thailand.

The exhibition will be open for visitors at the National Museum of Vietnamese History, 1 Pham Ngu Lao St until the end of November.

VNS - (27/08/2004)


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