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2 Dong Son Bronze Bracelets + Bronze Axe

Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Dong Son Culture, ca. late 1st millennium BCE. A pair of thick, round cast bronze bracelets with very narrow openings and a bronze axe head with a lunate blade and an ovoid opening for a socket. Size of axe head: 2.9" W x 3.35" H (7.4 cm x 8.5 cm); size of largest bracelet (they are very similar in size): 3.2" W (8.1 cm)

The casting technique for Dong Son bronzes was demanding artistically and technically, and it seems likely based on archaeological investigation that they were made by local workshops staffed by specialists. We know of them mainly from burials, and it seems that bronze items - both the making of and ownership of - were controlled by a limited elite who used them to acquire and maintain power over their own people. As elsewhere in the ancient world, there is a clear relationship between sophisticated bronze metallurgical technology and the development of highly stratified, militaristic societies.

Condition: All have thick, encrusted patinas, but their forms are clear. Small nick from blade edge on axe.

Provenance: private Rochester, Michigan, USA collection

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