In the Neolithic period, they were extremely valuable ornaments, worn as bracelets. They were so esteemed during a person’s lifetime that they were sometimes buried with the wearer, to accompany them to Heaven (or the Asian equivalent). These forms were seen both in Vietnam and Southern China during the same period. This strongly points to contact between the inhabitants of the two areas. It is rare to find intact examples from either period. Nguyen believes that this was a bracelet for a small girl. Although the inner space is quite small by modern standards, this does not rule out use as a bracelet. Nguyen has seen other pieces that are clearly bracelets (no splits, no hole for wire) with openings as small as this one. Archeological digs have shown that the size of the inhabitants during the Bronze Age where this artifact was found were diminutive compared to modern times. However, because it is split, there is the possibility that this was an earring. We do not know for sure.
Pieces like this are quite rare, even in a broken state. The elegance of the form remains undiminished, and the story is a great one. The patina is typical of bronze artifacts excavated from the Red River Valley, Thanh Hoa Province, Northern Vietnam, with a thick blue-green archaeological patina. Examples can be seen in a book called Burnished Beauty, by Michael Frape, which illustrates a great collection of archaic items from Southeast Asia.
A certificate of authenticity along with further details on ancient bronze artifacts from the Dong Son Period will be provided with this item. The artifact has been framed behind glass but can be easily removed from the frame to be more closely inspected.
Object Diameter: 8cm, 3 inches
Frame: 37cm x 37cm x 5cm, 14.6 x 14.6 x 2 inches
Provenance: Antique Dealer, Hanoi
Period: Dong Son 400 B.C-100 A.D