Lecture at the Siam Society, Bangkok on 1 November 2018.
DATE: Thursday, 1 November 2018
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21
The Bronze Age produced revolutionary innovations like the drums, stronger and more sonorous than their wooden and skin predecessors. They created new rites and bestowed on their owners a prestige even in the afterlife. On their drumhead (tympanum) and their cylindrical base, the drums were engraved with decorations open to interpretation, including the iconic frogs deemed to control the rain. Southeast Asian communities bestowed a new mission on the drums, not only as a source of sound but also to evoke values deemed crucial for everyday life or for the afterlife, from the steppes to the tropics. From inception to the present, the evolution of bronze drums spans around 2,500 years. Rituals have been conducted in their presence, from modern south China and Vietnam to Indonesia, including Indochina and Thailand. Bronze, an alloy resistant to corrosion, elevated the status of these objects from simple pots to valuable masterpieces of creativity, at the crossroads of spiritual and commercial values. They belong to the treasures of humanity, housed within museums around the world and still used at solemn ceremonies, including the funeral rites in October 2017 of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej. In my talk, I will trace the evolution of bronze drums across centuries and Southeast Asian cultures, in Cambodia, China, Laos, Indonesia/Bali, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.
A Dong Son bronze spear and an axe found near the coastline may suggest that the ancient peoples of that culture may have interacted with the sea more than previously thought. I do find the conclusions of the archaeologist in the article stretching a bit too thin when he says that the discovery of the artefacts prove that there was trading activity going on near the sea though.
Artifacts further evidence of East Sea sovereignty: expert
Vietnam Net Bridge, 07 July 2009 Read More
Between the Christmas and New Year celebrations, and my two weeks at the field, I didn’t have the time to cover any of the archaeology news that has surfaced in the last three weeks. In Wednesday Rojak style, here’s the quick summary of what’s been happening in Southeast Asia over the last three weeks: Skeletal remains in Malaysia, Digital Reconstruction in Cambodia, Restoration works in Vietnam and a Construction Mess in Indonesia.