29th Sep, 2022 13:00

DAY 1 - TWO-DAY AUCTION - Fine Chinese Art / 中國藝術集珍 / Buddhism & Hinduism

 
Lot 266
 

266

A MASSIVE BRONZE RAIN DRUM, DONG SON CULTURE

Sold for €10,400

including Buyer's Premium


Lot details

Vietnam, first millennium BC. The heavy, round drum with a waisted base, the top and side finely cast in relief with concentric bands of decoration, the top with a star symbol in the center and groups of stylized frogs applied at the rim, the sides with pairs of small loop handles.

Provenance: Leonardo Vigorelli, Bergamo, Italy, acquired ca. 1995 in Brussels, Belgium. Leonardo Vigorelli is a retired Italian art dealer and noted collector, specializing in African and ancient Hindu-Buddhist art. After studying anthropology and decades of travel as well as extensive field research in India, the Himalayan region, Southeast Asia, and Africa, he founded the Dalton Somaré art gallery in Milan, Italy, which today is being run by his two sons.
Condition: Excellent condition, commensurate with age. Extensive old wear, some casting flaws, small nicks and dents, few cracks, minor losses, signs of weathering and erosion overall. Fine, naturally grown patina with malachite and cuprite encrustations.

Dimensions: Height 42.3 cm, Diameter 66 cm

Dong Son (named for Dong Son, a village in Thanh Hoa, Vietnam) was a Bronze Age culture in ancient Vietnam centered at the Red River Valley of northern Vietnam from 1000 BC until the first century AD. Vietnamese historians attribute it to the states of Văn Lang and Âu Lạc. Its influence spread to other parts of Southeast Asia, including Maritime Southeast Asia, throughout the first millennium BC. The culture long remained a mystery to western archaeologists, and it was known only through its bronze objects, many of which were taken from burial sites. Dong Son bronze objects were exhibited in Europe for a century before their original location was even determined, and several theories and speculations over the dating methodologies of the culture continue to this day.

Bronze rain drums
were invented by the Dong Son people and produced from about 600 BC or earlier until the third century AD. They are one of the culture's most astounding examples of metalworking. The discovery of Dong Son drums in New Guinea is seen as proof of trade connections – spanning at least a thousand years – between this region and the technologically advanced societies of Java and China.

Bronze drums are still being used ceremoniously in Southeast Asia by the Yi people, Zhuang people, Miao people and Qabiao people in northern Vietnam and southern China. They are generally struck in the center with a soft mallet, and on the side with a wood or bamboo stick. Among the ethnic Vietnamese, they are still used in some rituals, such as those to the Hung kings, but are rarely used as a musical instrument anymore. In Thailand, the Dong Son drum is also used in some ceremonies, where it is called the Mahorathuek.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Bonhams Hong Kong, 29 March 2018, lot 36
Estimate: 400,000 or approx. EUR 54,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A copper alloy ritual drum, Dong Son culture, Vietnam, circa 3rd/2nd century B.C.
Expert remark: Compare the form and star decoration at the center. Note the smaller size (35.2 cm).

 

Vietnam, first millennium BC. The heavy, round drum with a waisted base, the top and side finely cast in relief with concentric bands of decoration, the top with a star symbol in the center and groups of stylized frogs applied at the rim, the sides with pairs of small loop handles.

Provenance: Leonardo Vigorelli, Bergamo, Italy, acquired ca. 1995 in Brussels, Belgium. Leonardo Vigorelli is a retired Italian art dealer and noted collector, specializing in African and ancient Hindu-Buddhist art. After studying anthropology and decades of travel as well as extensive field research in India, the Himalayan region, Southeast Asia, and Africa, he founded the Dalton Somaré art gallery in Milan, Italy, which today is being run by his two sons.
Condition: Excellent condition, commensurate with age. Extensive old wear, some casting flaws, small nicks and dents, few cracks, minor losses, signs of weathering and erosion overall. Fine, naturally grown patina with malachite and cuprite encrustations.

Dimensions: Height 42.3 cm, Diameter 66 cm

Dong Son (named for Dong Son, a village in Thanh Hoa, Vietnam) was a Bronze Age culture in ancient Vietnam centered at the Red River Valley of northern Vietnam from 1000 BC until the first century AD. Vietnamese historians attribute it to the states of Văn Lang and Âu Lạc. Its influence spread to other parts of Southeast Asia, including Maritime Southeast Asia, throughout the first millennium BC. The culture long remained a mystery to western archaeologists, and it was known only through its bronze objects, many of which were taken from burial sites. Dong Son bronze objects were exhibited in Europe for a century before their original location was even determined, and several theories and speculations over the dating methodologies of the culture continue to this day.

Bronze rain drums
were invented by the Dong Son people and produced from about 600 BC or earlier until the third century AD. They are one of the culture's most astounding examples of metalworking. The discovery of Dong Son drums in New Guinea is seen as proof of trade connections – spanning at least a thousand years – between this region and the technologically advanced societies of Java and China.

Bronze drums are still being used ceremoniously in Southeast Asia by the Yi people, Zhuang people, Miao people and Qabiao people in northern Vietnam and southern China. They are generally struck in the center with a soft mallet, and on the side with a wood or bamboo stick. Among the ethnic Vietnamese, they are still used in some rituals, such as those to the Hung kings, but are rarely used as a musical instrument anymore. In Thailand, the Dong Son drum is also used in some ceremonies, where it is called the Mahorathuek.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Bonhams Hong Kong, 29 March 2018, lot 36
Estimate: 400,000 or approx. EUR 54,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A copper alloy ritual drum, Dong Son culture, Vietnam, circa 3rd/2nd century B.C.
Expert remark: Compare the form and star decoration at the center. Note the smaller size (35.2 cm).

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