The golden age of Oc Eo culture

The treasures and jewelry of the Oc Eo culture, the proof of the golden age of Phu Nam kingdom dating back nearly 2,000 years, have been recently displayed in an exhibition entitled “Treasures of the ancient kingdom – Art of the Oc Eo goldsmiths and jewelers” at the Museum of Vietnamese History in Ho Chi Minh City.

Flourishing between the first and the seventh century, the Phu Nam kingdom covered a large area of the southern plain and hosted Oc Eo culture in An Giang province. After being forgotten and buried for thousands of years, traces of Oc Eo culture were discovered on an Oc Eo port site in An Giang.

The exhibition “Treasures of the ancient kingdom – Art of Oc Eo goldsmiths and jewelers” attracts a lot of visitors.

Oc Eo treasures and jewelry are proof of the golden age of the Phu Nam kingdom dating back nearly 2,000 years.

Beautiful jewelry.

A corner displaying ceramic pots.

Exploring the ancient Oc Eo culture.

In 1944, French archaeologist Louis Malleret, with his colleagues from the French School of the Far East, carried out excavations at the site. They discovered objects offering proof of a flourishing civilization and well-developed trade with other areas in Southeast Asia.

The civilization produced many handicrafts, including ceramics, as well as the ability to refine copper, iron and tin, along with creating silver and gold jewelry. Statues were also unearthed.

Tens of thousands of ancient Oc Eo artifacts of gems, brass, ceramic, and precious metals were discovered in some 90 relics. The jewelry displayed at the exhibition “Treasures of the ancient kingdom – Art of the Oc Eo goldsmiths and jewelers” are sophisticated with great artistic value. They are also diverse in type and design.

Artisans of the Oc Eo culture had grand artistic taste and reached an expert level of skillfulness. The details and patterns on the jewelry showed the typical characteristics of the Oc Eo culture which was intermingled with other cultures in Southeast Asia.

Visitors to the exhibition can explore the original culture of Oc Eo from the displayed artifacts which bear traces of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Peter Ankersen, a Danish visitor, said he was interested in learning about different cultures, especially those of Southeast Asian nations. The objects displayed in the exhibition were valuable and impressed him very much artistically. They helped him understand the Oc Eo culture of people living centuries ago.

The artifacts on display are divided into two groups: One of gold and silver religious objects, including linga and yoni, and snail and turtle symbols, and thin gold sheets; and the other of jewelry, including rings, earrings, and beads.

Gems on a beaded necklace show great artistic taste.

Molds for making jewelry.

Gems on bracelets.

A gold sheet.

Lotus-patterned gold.

Gorgeous necklaces.

A sophisticated bead.

Gold jewelry of the Oc Eo

Gold rings.

Metal amulets.

By Nguyen Vu Thanh Dat