Plaque de protection

Entre -500 et -50
Don fouilles : Janse, Robert Ture Olov; Mission Janse Indochine (1934-1935)
M.C. 8952

This bronze breastplate, which was originally square-shaped and flat, features the decorative motifs common to the most prestigious bronze objects of the Đông Sơn culture. Within a series of borders, accentuated by thin incised bands, are alternating smooth areas, dotted friezes and the characteristic circled dots connected by tangent lines. In the centre, a double scroll motif is repeated symmetrically along ca entral line. An eye suggests a highly stylised animal motif.
This breastplate was excavated by Olov Janse in early 1935, during his first archaeological campaign, under the auspices of the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (French School of Asian Studies). It is part of a group of objects deposited in a tomb. All other breastplates of this type have holes at each of the four corners. There is therefore no doubt that they were originally attached to some kind of organic material that has disintegrated. They are of medium size, which suggests they were a protective device fastened to a leather baldric, over the heart (tấm che ngực or "element covering the chest"). The central repeated double scroll motif forming an X appears to be associated with this type of object. While its precise significance has been lost, this artefact evidently served multiple functions, as both an ornament and symbol of prestige as well as a protective and perhaps magical covering.