Đông Sơn drums (also called Heger Type I drums) are bronze drums fabricated by the Đông Sơn culture in the Red River Data of northern Vietnam. The drums were produced from about 600 BCE or earlier until the third century CE and are one of the culture’s finest examples of Metalworking.
The drums, cast in bronze using the lost-wax casting method are up to a meter in height and weigh up to 100 kilograms (220 lb). Đông Sơn drums were apparently both musical instrument and cult objects. They are decorated with geometric patterns, scenes of daily life and war, animals and birds, and boats. The latter alludes to the importance of trade to the culture in which they were made, and the drums themselves became objects of trade and heirlooms. More than 200 have been found, across an area from eastern Indonesia to Vietnam and parts of Southern China.
The earliest drum found in 1976 existed 2700 years ago in Wangjiaba in Yunnan Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture China. It is classified into the bigger and heavier Yue drums including the Dong Son drums, and the Dian drums, into 8 subtypes, purported to be invented by Ma Yuan and Zhuge Liang. But the Book of the Later Han said Ma melt the bronze drums seized from the rebel Lạc Việt in into horse.
The discovery of Đông Sơn drums in New Guinea, is seen as proof of trade connections – spanning at least the past thousand years – between this region and the technologically advanced societies of Java and China.
In 1902, a collection of 165 large bronze drums was published by F. Heger, who subdivided them into a classification of four types.