An image of Axe head

Unknown Artist

Axe head

Not on display
Further information

Finely cast in good-quality dark green alloy, this axe head is decorated in shallow relief on both sides. The stylised animal, fish and bird motifs are typical of the Dong Son decorative repertoire. On one side along the edges the stylised shapes of two confronting crocodiles frame a squid motif (at the top) and two long beaked aquatic birds standing in a fish-filled pond (bottom). The other side depicts two confronting dragon-like animals above two humped bulls and a man. While similarly shaped battle axes have been found throughout maritime Southeast Asia, the quality and elaborate decoration on this piece indicate it was a ritual object, probably part of the grave goods of a community leader.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.298.

Place of origin
Viet Nam
Cultural origin
Dongson culture (c400s BCE - c100 CE)
3rd century BCE-2nd century BCE
Arms & armour
14.5 x 14.9 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Goldie Sternberg Southeast Asian Art Purchase Fund 1998
Accession number