The function of large bronze bells without clappers is yet to be discovered. Apparently designed to be struck from the outside, their scale suggests ritual rather than daily use. While this imposing instrument is reminiscent of Dong Son metalwork, archaeological evidence suggests it was made outside Vietnam, possibly in Cambodia or Malaysia where similar monumental bells have been found. The S-spirals enclosed within triangular saw teeth are early manifestations of a design still popular in Southeast Asian art.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label