Trails of Bronze Drums Across Early Southeast Asia: Exchange Routes and Connected Cultural Spheres

Ambra Calo

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    This study examines the transmission of ceremonial Dong Son bronze drums from their centres of production in north Vietnam and its immediate environs along river and maritime routes throughout Mainland and Island Southeast Asia (MSEA and ISEA) from the perspective of Late Metal Age (300 BC AD 500) exchange networks. This period saw the growth of long-distance exchange linking MSEA and ISEA and involving the mainland to island transmission of bronze objects and casting technology. The distribution of ceremonial bronze drums associated with political/religious power along major routes marks contacts between early cultural spheres, and particularly possible alliances which would have favoured the exchange of commodities. The growth and progressive political significance of strategically located trade centres set the stage for the process of state formation during the historic period. Examining the distribution across present national boundaries, this study focuses on what type of drums are found where to identify different phases and routes of transmission associated with different inter-regional networks, interconnected cultural spheres, and regional bronze drum casting traditions arising from the influence of Dong Son drums.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)
    Number of pages228
    ISBN (Print)9789814517867
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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