Sa Huynh artefacts explain piece of the past
Hundreds of objects displayed at the National Museum of
Vietnamese History will inform people about an ancient culture that flourished
2,000-2,500 years ago.
The museum has launched an exhibition featuring
artefacts of the Sa Huynh Culture, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of
the culture’s discovery in Viet
The Sa Huynh Culture is the name given to the urn
field (jar burial) culture of the coastal plains in central and southern Viet Nam.
Archaeological sites have been discovered from the Mekong Delta to just south
of the Tonkin region.
Sa Huynh sites are rich in locally worked iron
artefacts, typified by axes, swords, spearheads, knives and sickles.
The Sa Huynh cremated dead adults and buried them
in jars covered with lids, a practice unique to the culture. Ritually broken
offerings usually accompanied the jar burials.
The most typical style of burial of Sa Huynh
Culture in the early Iron Age was in burial jars.
Burial jars of the Sa Huynh vary in measurement
and type, but they are mostly cylindrical and egg-shaped with conical lids.
The culture is also typified by its unique ear
ornaments featuring two-headed animals. The ornaments were commonly made from
jade, but also from glass. Bead ornaments were also commonly found in Sa Huynh
burials, most commonly made from glass, carnelian, agate, olivine and gold.
"The diversification of objects and the
various types of Sa Huynh artefacts have surprised us. Our ancestors made great
creations and left for us a heritage that is as huge and interesting as all
other ancient civilisations in the world," said Pham Quoc Quan, director
of the museum.
"After 100 years studying the culture we have
seen remarkable results, but the number of things exhibited here is
limited," said Quan.
"There are holes among the artefacts here
that need to be filled with new objects from recent and upcoming discoveries
The opening ceremony of the exhibition drew
hundreds of experts, collectors and foreigners.
"I just arrived here by chance... but it’s
really a golden opportunity for me to learn about one of the country’s ancient
cultures," said Marie Johnsons, from the US.
"I’m not an expert, but I’m really interested
in the artefacts displayed here, which are various and beautiful.
"It’s also the first time I’ve heard of these
kinds of jars; it’s an amazing idea by the Vietnamese," she said.
The display is organised in co-ordination with the
Institute of Archaeology
and the Museum of
An earthernware coffin found in the Sa Huynh salt
marsh in Duc Pho district, Quang Ngai province, in 1909 by a French scientist,
was the first landmark of the culture’s discovery. So far, about 80 relic sites
related to the Sa Huynh Culture have been found.
The display will last for several months at the
museum, 1 Pham Ngu Lao street,
Vietnamplus/Viet Nam News