Accepted paper:

The exchange and use of Bronze Thaps (Bucket-Shaped Bronze Vessels) in the Bac Bo and Lingnan regions from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE

Author:

Weiyan Wei

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the bronze thaps (bucket-shaped bronze vessels) unearthed in Bac Bo and Lingnan regions during the Qing and Han Dynasties (221BC-220AD), and investigates their ceremonial exchange and specific uses.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the bronze thaps (bucket-shaped bronze vessels) unearthed in Bac Bo and Lingnan regions. The bronze thaps were mainly distributed along the waterways of Red River, Ma River, Ca River, Pearl River and their tributaries. The elaborate decoration and the same deposition context as bronze drums indicated that the bronze thap was one kind of high prestige items. The use of bronze thaps probably indicates emulation and competition in the emergence of local elites. The sufficient evidence suggested that the bronze thaps were used as exquisite coffins or valuable mortuary objects by Dong Son communities in Bac Bo region, while they were only treated as exotic and precious burial goods by the King of Southern Yue (Nanyue 南越) and his supporters in lingnan region. Based on analysis of function and style it's suggested that the bronze thaps in Lingnan region were probably of Bac Bo origin. With goods movement the idea of use of thaps within funerary sphere flowed soon in large scale throughout Lingnan region. It's supposed that the bronze thaps were copied by ceramics, added to local funerary pottery assemblages, and used by both elites and commoners in Lingnan region. The differences of use and treatment of bronze thaps may due to diverse local traditions between Bac Bo and Lingnan regions. Such discussions not only yield information about early exchange in regional scale, but also provide some insights into the interaction between Dong Son communities and the kingdom of Southern Yue.

panel P32
The archaeology of contact between China and Southeast Asia between the mid-1st millennium BC and the mid-1st millennium AD