300 BCE–50 CE
Asia: Vietnam
On View

This bronze drum likely served as a burial item, intended to honor deceased ancestors or to invoke blessings from the rain gods. It features intricate figural motifs and abstract shapes, complemented by playful frog figurines on the tympanum. The casting technique used to make this substantial object demonstrates the advanced metallurgical knowledge of early Vietnamese artisans. Numerous drums, created through complex bronze-casting techniques, have been found throughout Southeast Asia, attesting to the extensive networks of trade and exchange within the region.


  • Title: Drum
  • Date: 300 BCE–50 CE
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Dimensions: 20 x 29 in. (50.8 x 73.7 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, from the Estate of Jennifer Jones Simon
  • Accession Number: M.2010.1.210.S
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 3: Art from Sri Lanka & Southeast Asia, 2004, Fig. 1, no. 19 pp. 11, 34, 36-39
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1673 p. 433
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