The Red River Delta in Northern Vietnam, bordering South China, Laos and Thailand
The Dongson culture, which occupied the Red River Valley in northern Vietnam from around 500 BCE to 2nd century AD, was famous for its sophisticated bronze artifacts particularly elaborate drums, axe heads, and small and large vessels.
The monster mask reliefs around the handle of this vessel is a relic of the Shang bronzes of ancient China (circa 1600 – 1027 BCE). Through trade and migration, this imagery went on to inform the artistic expression in virtually all of Indonesia, from the Batak tribes in Sumatra in the western part of the archipelago to the “Spice Islands” of Maluku in the east, a cultural transmission epic in both time and space.
Monster Faces in Indonesian Tribal Art
Pendant from the famed “Spice Islands” of eastern Indonesia, featuring the face of a horned mask figure, Southern Maluku, gold alloy. 19th century. Private collection.