Chapter 7 Further Discussion of Bronze Drums 銅鼓餘論

In: Harmoniousness: Essays in Chinese Musicology
Jao Tsung-i
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Colin Huehns
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Bronze drums are occasionally met in East Asian temples and museums, but their dark colour and imposing appearance can cause the casual scholar to pass them blithely by. Not so the intrepid Jao Tsung-i, who uses them instead to take the reader on a delightful journey through the historic, political, ethnic, and literary currents of south China and the Chinese diaspora of South-East Asia. Their ancient origins are explored, the complexity of their imagery explained, and the rationale behind their dispersal defined: a wealth of primary source material, both artifact and text, is assembled into a tightly knit narrative thread.

1 The Chunyu 錞于 and Bronze Drums

The name ‘chunyu’ used for a bronze musical instrument is seen in The Zhou Rites (Zhouli 周禮), ‘Diguan’ 地官 (chapter 2), ‘Gu ren’ 鼓人: ‘Those who are called “drummers” teach the musical notes of the six types of drums and four instruments of bronze, which add rhythmic sectionalisation to musical sound. The four instruments of bronze are the chun, zhuo small bell, nao cymbals, and duo bell; the bronze instrument the chun is harmonious with the drums; the bronze instrument the zhuo gives rhythmic sectionalisation to the drums; the bronze instrument the nao causes the drums to stop and brings the music to a cadence; and the bronze instrument the duo is in communication with the drums.’ 掌教六鼓四金之音聲,以節聲樂,四金者,錞、鐲、鐃、鐸也。以金 錞和鼓,以金鐲節鼓,以金鐃止鼓,以金鐸通鼓.1 Zheng Xuan’s (鄭玄, 137–200) notes (cited in juan 12 of the Tang dynasty compilation Zhouli zhushu 周禮注疏) give: ‘The instrument called here the “chun” is more generally known as the “chunyu”. It has a rounded shape with an expanded lip similar in form to the head of a hammer, and its upper portion is thus of wide diameter and its lower portion narrow. When music is made, it is sounded, and it harmonises with the drums.’ 錞,錞于也。圜如椎頭,大上小下。樂作鳴之,與鼓相和.2 Jia Gongyan’s (賈公彥, fl. seventh century) supplementary explanation to Zheng Xuan’s notes gives: ‘The name “chunyu” emerged from the Han dynasty dayu music official.’ 錞于之名,出於漢之大予樂官.3

Discourses of the States (Guoyu 國語; written early Warring States period), ‘Jinyu’ 晉語 (juan 11): ‘Zhao Xuanzi (趙宣子, 655–601 BCE) says: “Use the chunyu in warfare, and the dingning (dingzheng) tubular bell, thereby issuing warning to the people.”’ 趙宣子曰: 戰以錞于,丁寧(即鉦),儆其民也.4 Also, the records in ‘Discourses of the State of Wu’ (‘Wuyu’ 吳語; juan 19) of the Con-ference at the Yellow Pool (Huangchi zhi hui 黃池之會; 482 BCE): ‘The ruler of the state of Wu, Fuchai (d. 473 BCE, r. 495–473), thereupon grasped the drumsticks and himself sounded the bells, drums, dingning (dingzheng) tubular bells, and chunyu.’ 吳王夫差乃秉枹,親就鳴鐘、鼓、丁寧、錞于.5 Notes by Wei (Zhao 韋昭, 204–273, in Guoyu zhu 國語注 to the passage from juan 11 cited above) give: ‘The chunyu is in shape like the head of a dui treadle-operated tilt hammer for hulling rice and is harmonious with the drums.’6 錞于形如碓頭,與鼓相和.7 Wei’s description directly matches that of Zheng Xuan.

Shen Yue’s (沈約, 441–513) The Official Book of the Song Dynasty (Song shu 宋書), ‘Yue zhi’ 樂志 (juan 19) gives: ‘The instrument called here the “chun” is more generally known as the “chunyu”. It has a rounded shape with an expanded lip similar in form to the head of a dui treadle-operated tilt hammer for hulling rice, and its upper portion is thus of wide diameter and lower portion narrow. Even nowadays among the common people this instrument can at times still be found.’ 錞,錞于也,圜如碓頭,大上小下,今民間猶時有其器.8 Underneath this entry are those for the zhuo, nao, and duo, cited as given in The Book of Rites. Xiao Zixian (蕭子顯, 487–537) in The Official Book of the Southern Qi Dynasty (Nan Qi shu 南齊書), juan 35, ‘Biography of (Xiao) Jian, the short-lived Ruler of Shixing’ (‘Shixing Jianwang [Xiao] Jian zhuan’ 始興簡王 (蕭)鑑傳; Xiao Jian: 473–491): ‘An inhabitant of Guanghan and Shifang called Duan Zu (fl. fifth century) presented a chunyu to Xiao Jian; it is an ancient musical instrument once used in the rites. It was three chi feet, six cun inches, and six fen deci-inches tall, in circumference three chi and four cun, and round like a segment of bamboo. Its bronze colour had blackened to become like lacquer, and the plates of which it was made were very thin. On its top was a bronze sculpture of a horse, and it was suspended by a rope tied to this horse one chi or more from the ground and filled with water. A vessel filled with water was also placed underneath it. Taking a bristled rod, kneeling carefully, and pouring water into the chunyu, by using the hands to brandish the rod and stimulate its vibrations, its sound is like thunder, clear and clean, resonating for a long time before fading, so in ancient times it was used to lend rhythmic sectionalisation to music.’9


Linghu Defen’s (令狐德棻, 583–666) The Official Book of the Zhou Dynasty (Zhou shu 周書), juan 26, ‘Biography of Husi Zheng’ (‘Husi Zheng zhuan’ 斛斯徵傳): ‘Musical instruments include the chunyu, but in recent times, it is no longer found. Someone had obtained one from the Shu region (equivalent to modern Sichuan), but no one recognised it for what it was. Husi Zheng saw it and said: “This is a chunyu.” No one believed him. Husi Zheng then took as his authority Gan Bao’s (280–336) Zhouli zhu and rubbed (pummelled) it with a bristled bamboo segment to produce a sound that had strong vibrations, and everyone sighed in amazement and was persuaded. Husi Zheng thereupon took the instrument and placed it inside the musical ensemble.’ 樂有錞于者,近代絕無此器。或有自蜀得之,皆莫之識。徵見之曰:此錞于也。眾弗之信,徵遂依干寶《周禮注》,以芒筒捋之,其聲極振,眾乃歎服。徵乃取以合樂焉.11 Evidently, already in the epoch of the Six Dynasties, most did not even recognise what a chunyu was.

In the Tang dynasty, Du You (杜佑, 735–812) in his Tongdian 通典, juan 144, cites the above quotations to make explanation of the chunyu.12 Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era (Taiping yulan 太平御覽, compiled in 977–783), juan 575, also quotes The Zhou Rites, The Official History of the Song Dynasty (Song shi 宋史),13 The Official Book of the Zhou Dynasty (Zhou shu), and Yue shu 樂書, in total, four entries relevant to the chunyu.14

When Huang Bosi (黃伯思, 1078–1118) of the Song dynasty penned his ‘Han jinchun shuo’ 漢金錞說, he cites The Official History of the Southern Dynasties (Nan shi 南史), ‘Biography of (Xiao) Jian, the short-lived Ruler of Shixing’ (‘Shixing Jianwang [Xiao] Jian zhuan’ 始興簡王(蕭)鑑傳; by Li Yanshou 李延壽, fl. seventh century; in juan 43): ‘On the top of the instrument, there is now a crouching animal that can be tied with a rope such as is used for drawing water from a well, which is identical to the explanation in The Official History of the Southern Dynasties; however, the upper portion of the chun is large and has a rounded form with an expanded lip, and the lower portion tapers to a narrower shape, so it is not like a bamboo segment. If it is pounded on the ground, then sound is emitted from its top. If a rotating roll is performed on the upper face, then the sound roars splendidly and does not disperse, and is extremely loud and resonant, like thunder, a clear and clean symphony that lasts for a long time, and it is not necessary to pour in water or stimulate it to vibrate with a bristled rod. The instrument came originally in six sizes, their lengths proportionate to each other and arranged in an orderly sequence. Of these, three had already been placed in storage; their workmanship was of the highest order, and all were manufactured in the Zhou dynasty. Of the three instruments available today, one is inscribed with characters of the style of Han dynasty huoquan coinage and thus its provenance is the Han dynasty.’ 今此器上有蹲獸,可繫以綆,與《南史》之說同。但錞首巨而圜,下乃寖小,非若筩也。及舂之於地,則聲自上發,回旋鍧磕于錞之首,磅礴不散,甚大而宏,亦若雷然,清響良久,不必注以水而振以芒也。此器本六,長短相弟,其三已歸內府,制作尤工,皆周器也。今此三器,其一有漢泉文,蓋漢器耳.15

According to this account, there were six members of the chunyu family of instruments in the Zhou dynasty, their lengths proportionate to each other in successive sizes; and given that there is the term ‘a rack (sequence) of bells’ (bianzhong 編鐘), it is then almost possible to talk of ‘a rack (sequence) of chun’. Zhao Yanwei (趙彥衛, fl. late twelfth–early thirteenth centuries) in his Yunlu manchao 雲麓漫鈔, juan 2, explains the meaning of bronze chun in harmoniousness with the drums thus: ‘Gautama Buddha striking a small bronze zheng (an alternative character to ) bell is equivalent to the resonating surplus sound of chun and drum.’ 釋氏擊小銅錚,即錞和鼓之餘意.16 Wu Qian (吳騫, 1733–1813) in ‘Zhou huchun shuo’ 周虎錞說 gives ‘that he had once obtained a Zhou dynasty tiger chun and on it was the character “” (the numeral “ten”); the chun is harmonious with the drums, and they are not the same instrument. Citing Chen Xiangdao’s (1053–1093) Li shu, (Wu Qian recounts) that in the Taichang Music Department of the Song dynasty imperial court, twelve bronze chun were arrayed, of which this specimen had once been the tenth.’ 嘗得周虎錞一,上有「十」字,錞和鼓非一器。引陳祥道《禮書》宋太常樂設金錞十有二,今此錞亦當第十也.17 This imparts the knowledge that twelve chunyu were part of the Song dynasty imperial musical system.

Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era, ‘Music Category’ (‘Yuebu’ 樂部; juan 563–584) quotes Yue shu: ‘The instrument known as the chunyu is fashioned from bronze and in shape resembles a bell; its top is wide, its torso shaped like a bucket for raising water, and at its base is an opening of small diameter; on top of it, a crouching animal is affixed as a handle, and inside, like a ling bell, a bronze tongue is suspended. Whenever music is made on it, it is stimulated into vibration to make it sound, and it forms a harmonious combination with the drums.’ 錞于者,以銅爲之,其形像鐘,頂大腹𢴲口弇,上以伏獸爲鼻,內懸子鈴銅舌。凡作樂,振而鳴之,與鼓相和.18 This passage indicates that it was equipped with a tongue that rocked back and forth.

The entries quoted above are familiar to all and sundry. Hong Mai (洪邁, 1123–1202) of the Song dynasty in his Rongzhai xubi 容齋續筆, juan 11, the entry ‘The Ancient Chunyu’ (‘Gu chunyu’ 古錞于), had already made citational use of them.19 Qing dynasty Chen Zhan’s (陳鱣, 1753–1817) ‘Investigation of the Bronze Chun’ (‘Jinchun kao’ 金錞考),20 and Rong Geng’s (容庚, 1894–1983) Yin Zhou qingtongqi tonglun 殷周青銅器通論 simply reiterate these several facts as their explanation and are extremely perfunctory.21 Tushu jicheng 圖書集成, ‘Yuelü dian’ 樂律典, juan 98, lists an abundance of documents about the chunyu.22

The Official Book of the Southern Qi Dynasty (Nan Qi shu 南齊書), ‘Treatise on Auspicious Omens’ (‘Xiangrui zhi’ 祥瑞志; juan 18): ‘In the first year of the Jianyuan era (479) in the Fuling prefecture (the character [‘fu’] is incorrectly written as [‘hao’]) lived a person called Tian Jian (untraceable) of the Dan ethnicity, whose home was among mountain cliffs where often the cloudy ethers lingered…. on the twenty-seventh day of the fourth month, several li into the mountains, suddenly there appeared a pair of lights. Drawn towards the brightness, he obtained there an ancient bell and another instrument whose name was a “chunyu”. The Dan people thought that it might be a magical object, so they presented it to the local temple and offered sacrifices to it.’ 建元元年,涪(原誤作浩)陵郡蜑民田健,所住岩間,常留雲氣。……四月二十七日,岩數里夜忽有雙光,至明往,獲古鐘一枚,又有一器名錞于,蜑人以爲神物,奉祠之.23 The Fuling prefecture was where the Dan people of Tianmen 天門 lived, and a chunyu was also discovered there. According to the records of ancient books, chunyu came mostly from the Shu region, therefore, when the Liang dynasty emperor Jian Wendi who only reigned for a short time (梁簡文帝, 503–551, r. 549–551) composed ‘Jinchun fu’ 金錞賦, he included the lines: ‘Mine red nickel ores at Shulei; seek fine copper at Guanbin.’ 采赤鋈於蜀壘,求銅精於灌濱.24

Record of Kuaiji (Kuaiji ji 會稽記; by Kong Ye 孔曄, fl. Jin dynasty): ‘In a temple on Tu mountain is a musical instrument of the Zhou dynasty whose name is a “chunyu” and which is made of bronze. In form it is like a bell, a bell that is reflected in water, and is struck with a bristled rod to produce sound.’ 塗山廟中有周時樂器名錞于,以銅爲之,形似鐘,有鐘映水,用芒刜則鳴.25 This chunyu also comes from the Yue region (note: in this essay, there are two Yue regions of identical pronunciation, but always differentiated by character: or ). In the Sui dynasty, dances were divided into the ‘of letters’ genre (wen ) and the ‘military’ genre (wu ). The Official Book of the Sui Dynasty (Sui shu 隋書), ‘Yinyue zhi’ 音樂志 (juan 13–15; this citation is from juan 15) gives: ‘The military dances employ sixty-four people … their left hands holding red shields, right hands holding large battleaxes, and choreographed patterns are made with the red shields and large battleaxes. Two individuals are at the front holding banners; two hold the tao drums equipped with stones on ropes that strike the drumhead when rocked; two hold duo bells and bronze chun; there are two four-person chariots, and two other individuals are standing. Two hold nao cymbals in a secondary role; two holding xiang instruments are to the left; two holding ya bells are to the right; and on each side, one is standing. From underneath banners, they flank the performance space, adjacent to the dancing contingent, in capes and hats identical to those of the dancers. The Zhou Rites (here given by its alternative name Zhou Officers [Zhouguan 周官]) stipulate that the bronze chun should be harmonious with the drums, the bronze zhuo gives rhythmic sectionalisation to the drums, the bronze nao causes the drums to stop and brings the music to a cadence, and the bronze duo is in communication with the drums.’ 武舞六十四人…… 左執朱干,右執大戚,依朱干大戚之文。二人執旌居前。二人執鼗,二人執鐸、金錞,二四人興,二人作。二人執鐃次之;二人執相在左,二人執雅在右,各一人作。自旌以下夾引,並在舞人數,外衣冠同舞人。《周官》所謂以金錞和鼓,金鐲節鼓,金鐃止鼓,金鐸通鼓也.26 In the Sui dynasty, the duo played together with the bronze chun in the serried ranks of performers of ‘military’ dances.

Dong You (董逌, fl. late eleventh–early twelfth centuries) in ‘Guangchuan shuba’ 廣川書跋, juan 3, the entry on inscriptions on the ancient bell of Guozhou 虢州 reads: ‘An ancient bell of Guozhou presented to the emperor, it is slightly more than three chi feet, two cun inches in height; at its opening, its diameter is eight cun and three li micro-inches; at its top, its diameter is one chi and six cun. The inscription reads: “A fine piece by third brother Wang Bogao (untraceable, ancient).” These characters are so eroded and obliterated that they can no longer be deciphered. On investigation of its construction, on its upper reaches, it has none of the mei protuberances normally found on bells, and when hit, neither are there sui concave internal areas. It is equipped with xian edges on opposite flanks and a yong vertical strut as a handle emerges from its top; its qu midriff is not differentiated from the gu playing area just above the opening. The wu area above this flares outwards from the body, and a heng handle is situated above it…. This is probably the instrument called “chunyu” by the Zhou dynasty.’

……虢州所上古鐘,其高三尺二寸有奇,口徑八寸三釐,其頂徑一尺六寸。銘曰: 王叔伯高作。其字摩滅,不可復識。……今考其制,在上無枚,其擊無隧,銑甬雖備,而祛鼓不辨,有舞外承,有衡上列。……此殆周人所謂錞于者耶。……27

(The Zhou Rites, chapter 6, ‘Dongguan Kaogongji’ 冬官考工記: ‘Master Fu is the maker of bells. The two luan edges on opposite flanks of the bell are called the xian [the two corners at opposite sides of the opening of the bell]; the area between the two xian is called the yu; the area above the yu is called the gu; the area above the gu is called the zheng; and the area above the zheng is called the wu.’ 鳧氏爲鐘,兩欒謂之銑(鐘口兩角),銑間謂之于,于上謂之鼓,鼓上謂之鉦,鉦上謂之舞.28) Zheng Zhong’s (鄭眾, d. 83 CE) notes to this passage (quoted in Tongdian, juan 144) give: ‘The yu is the qu above the bottom rim of the bell; the gu is where the bell is struck.’ 于,鐘臀上之祛也,鼓所擊處.29 This chunyu is a specimen that carries an inscription. Note: Jingnan cuigu bian 荊南萃古編 written jointly by Zhou Maoqi (周懋琦, 1836–1896) and Liu Han (劉瀚, fl. nineteenth century) tells they had in their collection a Shang dynasty chun on which was the inscription: ‘In the first year of the ruler’s reign, on the twelfth month, the yichou (twenty-sixth) day; made by Fu Ding (fl. late Shang dynasty), a tiger treasure.’ 唯王元祀十有二月辰在乙丑,父丁作虎寶.30 According to their assertions, it was obtained from Shimen 石門 county, Hunan. Zou Shilu’s (鄒適廬, 1864–1940, also called Zou Shouqi 鄒壽祺) view was that it had a provenance of the state of Chu.31 My suspicion is that it was a forgery.

Fang Yizhi’s (方以智, 1611–1671) Tongya 通雅, juan 30: ‘The musical instrument the jiangyu is of the chunyu type (here , not the more usual ; the latter is written with the “metal” radical to its left that classifies it as made of metal; the classifier of is , the “water” radical). In the Beihai prefecture is a place called Chunyu county; in the Spring and Autumn period, the Chunyu ducal state was equivalent to this county, and therefore became an aristocratic lineage. In fact, it took its name from the musical instrument … which is harmonious with the drums. The “chun was therefore written “chun. The performance practice described in The Zhou Rites by which the drummers play the bronze chun in harmoniousness with the drums is just this … After the Five Dynasties, the Zhou dynasty also had the instrument the jiangyu, and was this instrument of the chunyu type? In shape it was like an earthenware fou large drum and hung up on bell racks. The ancient bell that was presented from Guozhou to the Song dynasty court was determined by Dong You to be a chunyu 淳于.’ 將于,淳于之類也。北海郡有淳于縣,春秋淳于公國在 此縣,因以爲氏。其實本樂器名與鼓相和。淳因作錞。《周禮》鼓人以金錞和鼓即此……。五代後周有將于,其錞于之類乎?形似瓦缶,以虡懸之。宋時虢州上古鐘,董逌以爲淳于.32 Master Fang indicates that the state of Chunyu took its name from the instrument, and recent scholarship has echoed his theory.

Note: The Book of Mountains and Seas (Shanhai jing 山海經; ‘Zhongshan jing’ 中山經; chapter 5) also records the existence of the term ‘chunyu錞于: ‘On Yingliang mountain is also found much green jade “chunyu” (“that abides by”) black stone.’ 嬰梁之山,上多蒼玉錞于玄石.33 Guo Pu’s (郭璞, 276–324) notes: ‘This indicates that green jade abides by black stone and is produced thereof. There are those who call chunyu the “musical instrument stone” and its form resembles the head of a hammer.’ 言蒼玉依黑石而生也。或曰錞于樂器石,形似椎頭.34 Hao Yixing (郝懿行, 1757–1825) quotes the sentence in ‘The Book of the West Mountains’ (‘Xishan jing’ 西山經; chapter 2 of Shanhai jing) that gives that Gui mountain is ‘chunyu錞于 West Sea (Xihai 西海).35 Yupian 玉篇 (by Gu Yewang 顧野王, 519–581; juan 2) renders this as: ‘zhunyu West Sea;’ 埻于西海;36chun is identical in meaning and similar in pronunciation to ‘zhun and is here being used as a verb; therefore, Guo Pu’s notes, in seeking for a derivation for , have come up with ‘abides by’. (The Book of Mountains and Seas) ‘The Book of the North Mountains’ (‘Beishan jing’ 北山經; chapter 3) also cites ‘Chunyu Wufeng 錞于毋逢 mountain’, which is clearly a placename.37 From this it is apparent that ancient places called ‘淳于 Chunyu’ or ‘錞于 Chunyu’ were more than one in number, but corroborating evidence as to whether manufacture there of the instrument chunyu caused these placenames to arise is scarce indeed, and it is difficult to pass judgment. Zhengzi tong 正字通 (by Zhang Zilie 張自烈, 1597–1675; juan 11) records that the characters for chunyu 淳于 can be written 錞釪.38

At the beginning of the Song dynasty, scholarly perception of the shape and manufacture of the chunyu was still riddled with misunderstanding. Regarding the chun , the summary of the genre of items of this name in Xuanhe bogutu 宣和博古圖 (by Wang Fu 王黼, 1079–1126) gives: ‘In recent generations, Dou Yan (918–960) drew pictures of implements used in the rites, but at that time he had not seen the actual items themselves as manufactured in antiquity, so he created drawings from his imagination: in the shape of cups and yu vessels, facing upward and tied up in rows on both sides as if they belonged to the genre of instruments hung on racks; how preposterous!’ 近代竇儼撰爲禮圖,當時未覩前製而臆度;如盃盂之狀,仰而繫其兩傍,以屬於簨虡,吁可笑已.39 Master Zhou’s (Zhou Qingyun 周慶雲, 1866–1934) Collection of the Mengpo shi 夢坡室 possessed a tiger chun of the state of Song, whose covering plate has been altered to become a lid, and underneath is a pedestal on which the instrument stands, which is completely at variance with the ancient method of manufacture and sufficient to make one guffaw with laughter.40 The depictions of chunyu in Sanli tu 三禮圖 (by Nie Chongyi 聶崇義, fl. tenth century) and Jingyou dayue tu 景祐大樂圖 (Jingyou era: 1034–1038; also by Nie Chongyi) are entirely erroneous, and Hong Mai had already established this and corrected them.41

Xuanhe bogutu lists nineteen chun specimens. All bear no inscription, and the names of the various categories to which they belong are extremely numerous. These include: ‘dragon-tiger’ (long hu 龍虎) chun (above the body of this chun as protruding knob-like animal effigies are two tigers face to face), ‘mountain-patterned’ (shanwen 山紋) chun, and ‘flower-wreathed’ (huanhua 圜花) chun (on both these instruments, the handle-like protuberances are in shape and ); one each of ‘horse-halter’ (zhima 縶馬) chun,42 ‘tortoise-fisherman’ (gui yu 龜漁) chun, ‘fish’ (yu ) chun (these two instruments have animals as knob-like protruding effigies), and ‘paired-fish’ (shuangyu 雙魚; Pisces) chun (so called because adjacent to the knob-like protruding tiger effigies, fish-scale patterns have been incised); one ‘male-phoenix’ (feng ) chun, seven tiger chun, and four ‘duichun (their knob-like protuberances are made in the shape of the dui tilt hammer for hulling rice). The picture captions all give the chun as an instrument of the Zhou dynasty, which would seem to be problematic ascription. The Yizheng tang 亦政堂 revised edition of Lü Dalin’s (呂大臨, 1042–1090) Kaogu tu 考古圖, juan 7, takes bells, chimes, and chun together as a single category, and in his Mige 秘閣 repository, two chun were kept, both from Yuzhang 豫章 and equipped with protruding handles (in the shape).43 For the most part, the knob-like protuberance is the feature that distinguishes between different forms of chunyu and they can be divided into two main categories: animal effigies (including a few that represent fowls) and handle-shaped. Male phoenixes are extremely rare and so too horses, and only tigers feature frequently, so this variant has consistently been accorded the appellation ‘tiger chun’.

Books on the antiquities of bronze and stone that record the chunyu do not list it as frequently as other artifacts. Xiqing gujian 西清古鑑 (completed in 1751) lists items in the chun category in juan 37, including one Zhou dynasty tiger chun and two Zhou dynasty ‘plain chun’ (one of whose handle-shaped protuberances has the shape ).44 Qiugu jingshe jinshitu 求古精舍金石圖 (compiled in 1813–1817) includes one tiger chun that is ovoid in shape.45 The seventh picture in Li Taifen’s (李泰棻, 1896–1972) Chi’an cangjin 癡盦藏金 (published in 1940; Chi’an is Li Taifen’s soubriquet.46) is of a tiger chun, a specimen heavy and robust in material construction that does not have any plaques prepared for characters to be moulded on; it is perhaps a Zhou dynasty piece.47

(Early twentieth century collector) Master Sumitomo 住有氏 had a tiger chun in his collection which was patterned like speckled toad-skin, see figure 129 of Senokuseizho Zokuhen: The Collection of Old Bronzes of Baron Sumitomo (泉屋清賞; published in 1921), and Rong Geng’s Haiwai jijin tulu 海外吉金圖錄, figure 154. Lu Zengxiang’s (陸增祥, 1816–1882) Baqiong shi jinshi zhaji 八瓊室金石札記: ‘The tiger chun is of an ovoid shape. Its lower bouts are like screens erected on carriages to shade from the sun. On the tray above stands the effigy of a tiger. According to local custom, it is often called a weng (large and bulbous) bell.’ 虎錞橢圓,下角如幢,槃上立虎形,里俗呼爲甕鐘.48 In addition, details are given of seven items that were included in the collection: ‘The largest specimen is two modern chi feet, two cun inches, and five fen in height; the smallest is one chi, three cun, and one fen. At the base of the tray are effigies of a pair of fishes, in which respect it is somewhat different from Han dynasty xi basins used for soaking brush-pens that do not have these. Some of the chun are furnished with effigies of the heads of male or female phoenixes, which are in form like tigers standing.’ 大者高今尺二尺四寸五分,小者高一尺三寸一分。槃底作雙魚,與漢洗稍異。有等作鳳皇獸首者,形製均同立虎.49 These are ‘male-phoenix chun’, and the records of them here match those of Xuanhe bogutu.

In the Han dynasty, most chunyu were furnished with tiger effigy knob-like protuberances whose feet appear to be climbing out of the top plate and attached under those feet are fish-like forms or plaques furnished with writing. Wu Qian of the Qing dynasty had tiger chun in his collection at the Baijing lou 拜經樓, as is shown in Zhang Yanchang’s (張燕昌, 1738–1814) Jinshi qi 金石契, which records that next to the ‘tiger knob-like protuberance’ were patterns of fish scales to the right and a bow and ge sabre-spear to the left. On the top was the character (‘shi’: ‘ten’) and underneath the character (‘yi’: a surname), both fashioned in characters that stand proud of the surface. Master Wu explains thus: ‘The chun that were harmonious to the drums were not just one in number and consequently were calibrated according to their size and weight, with this chun the tenth in the sequence. The missing characters that come after the character yi should be zisun 子孫, which represent the descendants of the family that had inherited the instruments. 和鼓之錞非一,是以大小輕重各有不同,此其第十錞。宜下缺文,當爲子孫也.50 Thus, he views it as a Zhou dynasty piece. Wu Yun (吳雲, 1811–1883), however, contradicts him and states that the character on the chun is in fact , and the style of the calligraphy is of a specimen of the Han dynasty. Among items in his collection that carried characters, those that bear the two characters 貨泉 (‘huoquan’, often used on coins) were probably cast in the epoch of Wang Mang (王莽, 45 BCE–23 CE). Wu Yun’s Lianglei xuan yiqi tushi 兩罍軒彝器圖釋, juan 9, includes a Han dynasty chun on whose knob-like animal protuberances are images of huoquan coins as well as patterns of fish and waterweeds and bows and arrows.51

Erbai lanting zhai jinshi ji 二百蘭亭齋金石記 (volume 4) includes a Han dynasty chun whose form and construction are the same as the specimen just discussed.52 Lu Zengxiang records that this chunyu had a line of four characters in the style found on huoquan coins, but they were largely eroded and hard to decipher; they seemed to read: ‘Greater quan coinage, fifty.’ 大泉五十.53 He also records: ‘In the xinsi year of the Guangxu era (1881), (Pan) Boyin (fl. late nineteenth–early twentieth centuries) sent me a piece of paper that was an ink rubbing of a tiger chun. On the left is a fish-like form, while on the right, a bow and two arrows and an image of a quiver, that is, the former (the bow) is rounded and the two arrows are straight, similar to the “chamber style” found on old artifacts; in addition, after three heng horizontal strokes come two zhe hooked strokes, and the result resembles an inverted calligraphic form of the character (“ji”).’ 光緒辛巳,(潘)伯寅寄虎錞搨墨一紙,左作一魚形,右作一弓二矢及箙形,前作一圓二直,似古器中所謂室形者,又有三橫後作二折,似是己字反文.54 The patterns and writing are even more complex and also indicate that it is an artifact of the Han dynasty.

Xiao jiaojing ge jinwen taben 小校經閣金文拓本 (published in 1935 by Liu Tizhi 劉體智, 1879–1962), juan 1, ‘Chunyu Type’ (‘Chunyu lei’ 錞于類) lists three specimens:

  1. Chunyu called ‘Third Ji’ (sanji 三己); decorative writing patterns in the form of fishes as well as: ‘𠮦 (船)’ and so on. (See Figure 7.a)

    (san’ means ‘three’; chuan’ means ‘boat’.)

  2. Chunyu inscribed ‘First Ji’ (jia ji 甲己); fish emblems as well as the characters: ‘十九’ (shijiu; the third character is obscure and has no ascribed pinyin pronunciation). See also the notes in Shanzhai jijin lu 善齋吉金錄 (by Liu Tizhi), ‘Musical Instruments’ (‘Yueqi’ 樂器).

  3. Chunyu inscribed ‘Yi Family’ (Yi jia 乂家); the writing on the instrument itself cannot be deciphered.55

Sichuan University Museum and Chongqing Museum have each a chunyu in their collection that carries writing. According to the catalogue descriptions of them, the former was excavated in Wan county and the latter in Chengdu itself. Tracing copies of the pictorial writing shapes that both instruments carry have been made by Xu Zhongshu (徐中舒, 1898–1991). After comparison with pictorial writing on weaponry of Dongsunba 冬筍壩 boat-coffin burials and characters of the Moxie 麽些 ethnicity, these shapes are found to resemble these latter two styles closely, a similarity especially apparent between the symbol on the Sichuan University chunyu and on the Dongsunba mao spear that establishes that the chunyu had undoubtedly been manufactured by inhabitants of the Ba region or state in Sichuan. In addition, the symbol on the Sichuan University chunyu resembles pictorial writing on specimens found in the aforementioned Xiao jiaojing ge jinwen taben, juan 1, and is in fact the character ‘’ that means ‘boat’, which indicates that there must have been a connection between these items.

Chunyu are mostly inscribed with unusual characters. During the Southern Qi dynasty, the Dan ethnicity area of Fuling prefecture also produced chunyu, which were probably manufactured in the Dan ethnicity area of Ba region, and they are cut with indigenous characters of Yi non-Han races. Lu Zengxiang records that Master Zhang (張氏 Zhang Shi; it is unclear to whom this refers) of Xiangyin 湘陰 had a chun in his collection on the inside of whose upper tray were the two characters ‘己丑’ (‘jichou’) in seal script.56 Zou An (鄒安, 1864–1940) records seeing a large chunyu kept by Master Cheng (程氏 Cheng Shi; also unclear to whom this refers) of Xin’an 新安 on whose flanks were moulded the characters ‘Made by Third Brother ’ ( 叔作), and additionally explains the unusual (first) character as (‘hu’), though this is incorrect. Also, he comments that this ‘chunyu is furnished with an inscription that reads: “A zun bell made by Third Brother Hu;”’ 錞于銘曰祜叔作;57 from this, the knowledge is gained that the chunyu was also known in ancient times as a ‘bell’ (zhong ). Discussing Writing and Explaining Characters (Shuowen jiezi 說文解字; by Xu Shen 許慎, 58–147 CE), under the entry for the character (‘bo’), gives: ‘The character represents a large bell belonging to the category chunyu; and it can thus be understood that large bo bells, ordinary zhong bells, and chunyu are one and the same.’ 大鐘錞于之屬,58 知鑮、鐘、錞于,一也. These specimens are all chunyu that carry inscriptions, but unfortunately, I have not yet seen rubbings of the inscriptions themselves, so appended here are notes of them as a preparation for further investigation.

Figure 7.a
Figure 7.a

Xiao jiaojing ge jinwen taben. Individual representation of the inscriptions on each of the three chunyu

Photo Authorized by Shin Wen Feng Print Company

‘Third Ji’ Chunyu

Ancient Chunyu


I have seen at first hand a Sichuan chunyu with the tiger knob-like protuberance and a chunyu of the Warring States period excavated at Ta’erpo 塔而坡 in Xianyang 咸陽 that is furnished with a chi mythical beast of extremely fine workmanship as its knob-like protuberance (now held in the Xianyang Museum); and a Shanghai green porcelain chunyu; a set of chun in racks from Guizhou already thirty years ago; for chunyu in Hunan and Hubei, see (modern scholar) Master Xiong Chuanxin’s 熊傳薪 monograph on the subject.59 Lushi zhaji 陸氏札記 (Master Lu: Lu Zengxiang): ‘Chunyu come predominantly from the nearby region inhabited by the Miao barbarians, so it is probably a musical instrument made by them; it is like the bronze drum.’ 錞于出多近苗蠻之區,殆蠻人所作樂器,如銅鼓之類.60 In recent years, Xu Zhongshu in his essay ‘A Preliminary Discussion of the Culture of the Bashu region of Sichuan’ (‘Bashu wenhua chulun’ 巴蜀文化初論) has put forward a new theory that the chunyu had its origins in the Shu region and that the bronze drum was a transmogrification of its shape.61 Here, an attempt will be made to investigate places where chunyu have been excavated, for example, the two specimens shown in Kaogu tu were obtained in Yuzhang, and the ancient bells noted by Dong You were unearthed in Guozhou. Rongzhai xubi (juan 11) records that a chunyu was obtained in the fourteenth year of the Chunxi 淳熙 era (1187) from Cili 慈利 county in Lizhou 澧州, Wuli 五里 mountain, next to the tomb of Nanwang, emperor of the Eastern Zhou dynasty (周赧王, d. 256 BCE, r. 315–256 BCE); in the third year of the Shaoxi 紹熙 era (1192), a chunyu was also obtained from Changyang 長楊 county in Shanzhou 陝州.62 Record of Kuaiji also notes a chunyu from Tu mountain.63 Newly unearthed specimens of recent years include:

Anhui, Su 宿 county. Together with a wu(xu)zhuyu 無(鄦)諸俞 zheng tubular bell, a bronze chun was also unearthed, on opposite sides of which are square fittings each pierced by a hole so that ropes could be tied to them, and its provenance is the Spring and Autumn period.64

Jiangxi, Xiushui 修水 county. An excavated chunyu of the Warring States period decorated with patterns of coiled kui dragons (pankui 蟠夔); enclosed inside the chunyu abdominal cavity is a bell. Xiushui was the territory of the ancient vassal state of Ai (Ai hou guo 艾侯國).65 Shaanxi also has a Zhou dynasty tiger chun;66 Fuling in Sichuan has also produced a chunyu with a knob-like tiger protuberance.67 Hunan Museum keeps a chunyu collected in Xiangxi 湘西, and on it is a knob-like snake protuberance, a feature that is extremely rare.

Judging by these examples, chunyu were produced in places evidently widely distributed across the modern provinces of Shaanxi, Jiangxi, Anhui, and Hunan, and they were not solely manufactured in Sichuan, and neither were they universally inscribed with strange and unusual characters. This is the first fact.

Regarding the societal function of chunyu, according to the narration of Discourses of the State of Wu (Wuyu): ‘The ruler of the state of Wu grasped the drumsticks and himself sounded the bells, drums, dingning (dingzheng) tubular bells, chunyu, and set the duo bells into vibration.’ 王乃秉枹,親就鳴鐘、鼓、丁寧、錞于,振鐸.68 Huainanzi (淮南子; by Liu An 劉安, 179–122 BCE), ‘Binglüe xun’ 兵略訓 (essay 15): ‘When two armies face off against one another, their drums and chunyu view each other across the divide;’ 兩軍相對,鼓、錞相望;69 as is verified by surviving excavated artifacts as given below:

  1. Excavated in the town of Shanbiao 山彪 in Henan, a patterned basin depicting a military attack by water and land. As is revealed by the figurative design, the dingning (dingzheng) tubular bell and chunyu are both situated together above the drum stands. A drum major holds a drumstick in one hand in the vicinity of the drumhead while his other hand holds a drumstick near the chunyu, seeking to facilitate deployment of military formations in attack or retreat, and his opponents do likewise. This is precisely a situation of drums and chun looking at each another across the divide.70

  2. In Jinning 晉寧, Yunnan, from Shizhai 石寨 mountain, an excavated bronze instrument of the Han dynasty state of Dian. In the upper portion of the composition is a large scene of the ceremonial swearing of oaths of alliance, with a hundred and twenty or more people carved or cast. The individual on the top of the building is the chief officiator at the sacrifice and below are sacrificial beasts. In addition, a person is striking a bronze drum with his right hand and a chunyu with his left. According to observatory notes made by Feng Hanji (馮漢驥, 1899–1977), on the sacrificial terrace are several crowds of people sporting different types of topknotted hairstyles. Between the sacrificial terraces are found four ensembles of instruments, of which only one comprises the bronze drum and chunyu. Their performance practice is for two posts to be erected vertically on the ground, and between them at the top a horizontal strut fixed which passes through the ear-like attachments of both bronze drum and chunyu and from which they are thus suspended. A man with a wound topknot that pulls up the cloth on his back is striking the bronze drum with his right hand and the chunyu with his left.71

The two performance contexts indicated above are sufficient to furnish powerful proof in support of the observation in The Zhou Rites that the bronze chun is harmonious with the drums. ‘Sicheng fu yaoren xiansui bei’ 泗城府傜人獻歲碑 (Ming dynasty) states: ‘Every year on the first day of the first month, people of all the various villages of the Yao ethnicity visit the prefectural capital to perform the ceremony of presentation to the New Year, striking the bronze drum and chunyu, one person singing the call and a hundred answering in response.’ 每歲正月首,偕諸寨傜人詣府行獻歲禮,擊銅鼓錞于,一唱百和.72 This is evidence of the combined usage of chun and drum and illuminates that customs of the Yao ethnicity had retained this practice. Applying them to the joint requirements of ceremony and warfare is entirely possible. Formerly, Wu Qian’s ‘Differentiation between the Bronze Chun and the Chunyu’ (‘Jinchun chunyu bian’ 金錞錞于辨) had stated that although the bronze chun and the chunyu were of the same shape, their usage was different:73 a distinction should be made between the bronze chun that was an instrument that had the musical function of forming harmoniousness with the drums, whereas the chunyu was a military instrument that performed in concert with drums and horns (the argument is made in Jinshi qi), and although the differentiation and analysis of this argument are subtle, it is still one step away from the truth. From the patterned representations of warfare on basins, knowledge is gained that in the society of the Warring States period, the chunyu and drums did indeed coexist, but it is difficult to determine with certainty whether the physical form and manufacture of the bronze drum evolved from the chunyu. This is the second fact. Regarding the origin of the bronze drum, Zhu Yizun (朱彝尊, 1629–1709; soubriquet: Zhu Zhucha 朱竹垞) of the Qing dynasty discusses it as follows:

The bronze chun is harmonious with the drums; another name for it is the chunyu, and it is in the hands of the drummers, as can be seen from Chunqiu neiwai zhuan,74 and it was present prior to the appearance of bronze drums … believing that the chun’s essence is to be harmonious with the drums, I measured the specimen I had to hand and found it was of broadly similar dimensions (to an equivalent drum), the important difference being that the drum is bulbous at its waist, whereas the chun tapers to its lower reaches; the drum is covered at both ends, but the chun is open at the bottom. Thus, when the (bronze) drum was first cast, it was a perfect compromise between the two, which is why people of the Shu region call the chunyu a drum …


Pu shu ting ji 曝書亭集, juan 4675

Master Zhu considers that manufacture of the bronze drum was a result of pondering both the chunyu and the drum and making it accordingly, and this theory, when compared to Master Xu’s opinion that the bronze drum came from the chunyu, is much closer to a common-sense appraisal of the actual situation. Zhu’s words are rarely read, and cited in only a small number of cases, so they are recorded here in their entirety.76 Umehara Sueji (梅原末治, 1893–1983) records the excavation of an earthenware chunyu on which was a simple unadorned knob-like protuberance,77 and some scholars have expressed the opinion that this was the template from which the bronze chunyu evolved, but unfortunately only one specimen of this kind exists, and I have not heard of the discovery of any in other locations.

2 Yin, Jin, and Tang Dynasty Drums

Rong Geng’s Shangzhou yiqi tongkao contains records of two bronze drums:78 one in the Sen-Oku Hakukokan Museum 泉屋博古馆 that is furnished with two effigies of birds with human heads and is a drum with a long aperture; the other, patterned with curled venomous snakes (panhui 蟠虺) and excavated in Fengxiang 鳳翔 in Shaanxi, resembles in form a segment of bamboo and has a flat head on top and an open aperture at the bottom. John Calvin Ferguson (福開森, 1866–1945) wrote his Two Bronze Drums (Zhou tonggu kao 周銅鼓考; published in Beiping in 1932) on them. In June of 1977 in Chongyang 崇陽 county in Hubei, a Shang dynasty drum was unearthed that is ovoid in shape, has a diameter of 39.2cm, drumheads at either end for striking, and whose sides are decorated with ‘cloud-thunder’ (yunlei 雲雷) and ‘nipple-nodule’ (ruding 乳釘) patterns. On the body of the drum is a knob-like cast protuberance furnished with holes for using to hang it, and at its lower reaches is a square pedestal as its ‘feet’ whose form is both unusual and imposing, features that indicate clearly that it was a drum that could stand upright of its own accord. Its very existence suggests that in the Shang dynasty, the technology for casting huge bronze drums was already known.79 From the perspective of physical form, this type of two-headed drum was the (‘fen’) mentioned in The Book of Rites (‘Dongguan kaogong ji’), ‘Yun ren’ 韗人.80 Shuowen jiezi (juan 6) gives: ‘The large drum is called a fen; it is eight chi feet in size and has two drumheads, and its function is to encourage military prowess.’ 大鼓謂之鼖,八尺而兩面,以鼓軍事.81 The Book of Songs (‘Da ya’ 大雅), ‘Lingtai’ 靈臺 (poem 242): ‘Fen drums and yong large bells.’ 賁鼓維鏞.82 Jingdian shiwen (經典釋文; by Lu Deming 陸德明, c.550–630; juan 7) outlines that the character (‘fen’) that is the first of the four that constitute this poetic line should more correctly be written as (‘fen’).83 The instrument intended here is the fen drum made from bronze.

The bronze drum has always been regarded as characteristic of Luoyue 駱越 culture. The earliest relevant mention of this is in The Official Book of the Later Han Dynasty (Hou Han shu 後漢書), ‘Biography of Ma Yuan’ (‘Ma Yuan zhuan’ 馬援傳; Ma Yuan: 14 BCE–49 CE, also called Ma Fubo 馬伏波; juan 24): ‘In Jiaozhi, a bronze drum of the Luoyue culture was obtained, which was thereupon cast into the form of a horse.’ 於交趾得駱越銅鼓,乃鑄爲馬式.84

Shuijing (zhu) 水經(); by Li Daoyuan (酈道元, 466–527),85 ‘Wenshui zhu’ 溫水注 (in juan 36) quotes Records of Linyi (Linyi ji 林邑記): ‘In addition to Putong Tonggu, both Anding and Huanggang Xinkou in the Yue region are places under the jurisdiction of Tonggu (銅鼓; these two characters mean “bronze drum”), that is, the territory of Luoyue. Bronze drums are found there, which is how it got its name. Ma Yuan obtained a drum there, brought it back, and used it to cast a statue of a horse.’ 浦通銅鼓外,越安定黃崗心口,蓋藉度銅鼓,即駱越地,有銅鼓因得其名,馬援取其鼓以鑄銅馬.86 Anding is modern Du’an 都安 county; this passage marks the beginning of the usage of ‘bronze drum’ as a placename. In addition, ‘Yishui zhu’ 夷水注 (in juan 37) quotes Records of Linyi: ‘This river flows east through Anding county and joins the Yangtze River to the north.87 In midstream is a bronze boat cast by the ruler of Yue , which, when the flowing waters subside, can be seen by one and all.’ 其水東逕安定縣,北帶長江,江中有越王所鑄銅船,潮水退時,人有見之者.88 Evidently, in the vicinity of Anding, not only were drums cast in bronze, but boats too.

Guangdong xinyu 廣東新語 (by Qu Dajun 屈大均, 1630–1696), juan 16: ‘In the Yue region, bronze drums are widely distributed and have mostly been obtained by digging them from the ground … Lianzhou has a Bronze Drum pond, and Qinzhou a Bronze Drum village; in addition, in the north of Bobai county is a Bronze Drum pool.’ 粵處處有銅鼓,多從掘地而得。…… 廉州有銅鼓塘,欽州有銅鼓村。又博白縣北有銅鼓潭.89 Zheng He’s Navigation Chart (Zheng He haihang tu 鄭和海航圖; Zheng He: 1371–1433) includes two mountains that are called Bronze Drum mountain (Tonggu shan 銅鼓山): one is in the east of Wenchang 文昌 county and the other south of Ling mountain (in Vietnam), which was a place once famous for producing bronze drums. Taking the one to prove the other, Records of Linyi is evidently a source that can be trusted.90

In recent years, bronze drums have been excavated in Yunnan; for example, in 1961 in Dabona 大波那 in Xiangyun 祥雲 county, one was excavated from a tomb whose occupant was buried in a wooden guo outer coffin and a bronze guan inner coffin. The tomb was, according to carbon dating, closed seventy-five years either side of 465 BCE, and so the drum is an artifact of approximately the late Spring and Autumn or Warring States periods. Nowadays, Dabona is a village that contains a mixture of Han Chinese and members of the Bo ethnicity. According to the archaeological report of the excavation:

Bronze drum, one item. The drumhead is decorated with a four-pointed ‘radiant star’ , outside whose ambit there are no circular ‘aura’ patterns. The ‘thorax’ and ‘waist’ sections of the drum chamber are devoid of decorative patterns. The thorax section is particularly bulbous, exceeding the drumhead in diameter, but the waist section is suddenly narrower. As the inward taper reaches the feet it flares out once more. A pair of ear-shaped attachments (henceforth ‘ears’) are situated at the junction of the thorax and waist sections. It is 28cm in height and the drumhead 23cm across, the diameter at the feet being 38cm. Its form and manufacture are relatively primitive. The drumhead does not yet have a twelve-pointed radiant star; the pair of ears are likewise not furnished with rope braid patterning, so it evidently belongs to the early period of bronze drum manufacture and their embryonic form.


At present, this is the earliest known surviving bronze drum. Feng Hanji has observed aspects of close similarity in form between the Xiangyun bronze drum and a bronze cooking pot that was unearthed at the same time and thereby highlighted that the bronze drum possibly evolved from the bronze pot, which was not just a cooking utensil, but could be inverted to become a percussion instrument.92 Investigation of The Official Book of the Wei Dynasty (Wei shu 魏書), juan 101, (which includes) ‘Lao zhuan’ 獠傳 finds that it gives: ‘Bronze is cast into a utensil with a large aperture and a narrow waist, which is called a bronze cuan.’ 鑄銅爲器,大口寡腹,名曰銅爨.93 ‘A bronze cooking utensil’ is what is meant by ‘a bronze cuan’, and this item is not necessarily a precursor to the bronze drum. Regarding the various types of Western Han dynasty bronze drums that have emerged from Shizhai mountain, in only the first two excavations between 1955 and 1957, seventeen were excavated as well as nineteen bronze-drum shaped receptacles for the shells used as currency; for details, see: Report on Excavations at Shizhai Mountain (Shizhai shan fajue baogao 石寨山發掘報告).94 From Lijia 李家 mountain in Jiangchuan 江川, eight bronze drums were excavated in 1972 whose provenance was approximately the Western Han dynasty. The bronze drums unearthed in Yunnan have already been organised into a specialist book on the subject called Yunnan sheng bowuguan tonggu tulu 雲南省博物館銅鼓圖錄 (published in 1959 in Yunnan).

Recently, on the island of Hainan, Lingshui 陵水 county, four bronze drums adorned with ‘cloud-thunder’ patterns have been excavated, which apparently have a provenance of the Warring States period. Guangdong xinyu (juan 16) records two bronze drums in the Thunder God Temple (Lei miao 雷廟) of Yinglinggang 英靈岡 in Leizhou 雷州 that were kept in a small room there and played by acolytes from time to time for the enjoyment of the Thunder God; they were thus called ‘thunder drums’, from which the close relationship between bronze drums and thunder can be appreciated. Also, in Guangxi, Gui county, 25 Western Han dynasty tombs and 104 Eastern Han dynasty tombs have been excavated, but in only one of the early Eastern Han dynasty tombs was a bronze drum found.95 It can thus be seen that in the Warring States period and Western Han dynasty, bronze drums had already appeared in the region of Dian lake (Dian chi 滇池), their players were not limited to ethnicities of the Luoyue culture, and their use did not begin in the epoch of Ma Fupo (Ma Yuan);96 the notion of a ‘Ma Yuan drum’ is in fact entirely without foundation.97 Shuijing zhu, ‘Heshui zhu’ 河水注 (juan 3) under an entry on Lishi 離石 county records that in the Longsheng era (龍昇, 407–413) of the reign of the Xiongnu ruler Helian Bobo (赫連勃勃, 381–425, r. 407–425) in the fortress city of Tongwan 統萬, bronze was cast into a large drum, but more details of this are not known.

Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era, juan 582, quotes the Jin dynasty native of Kuaiji, Yu Xi (虞喜, 281–356), whose Zhilin 志林 gives: ‘In the twenty-fourth year of the Jianwu era (48 CE), a man of the South prefecture presented a bronze drum that carried an inscription.’ 建武二十四年,南郡男子獻銅鼓,有銘.98 Fang Xinru (方信孺, 1177–1222) of the Song dynasty in Nanhai baiyong 南海百詠 had once quoted this sentence to refute the error that the bronze drum was first mentioned in The Official Book of the Sui Dynasty (Sui shu, ‘Dili zhi’ 地理志, juan 29–31);99 however, even if accustomed to seeing bronze drums that were mostly devoid of characters, records in books on the antiquities of bronze and stone do still occasionally contain listings of one or two that were furnished with inscriptions. Baqiong shi jinshi zhaji: ‘The circumference of the bronze drum here is four chi feet and eight cun inches, in height it is eight cun and five fen deci-inches, and it is an antique piece belonging to Ye Dongqing (fl. Qing dynasty). In the fourth month of the jiaxu year (presumably 1874), it was damaged by fire, flattened on one side, and the damage cannot be rectified. It carries an inscription that reads: “Made by the Great Ruler on the eighteenth day of the sixth month of the gengwu year;” eleven characters in small seal script, probably inscribed at the instigation of the chief of the Miao barbarians.’ 銅鼓圍圓今尺四尺八寸,高八寸五分,葉東卿故物也。甲戌四月厄於火,竵扁不可整理矣。有款識云: 「大王庚午秊六月十八日造」,小篆十一字,蓋苗蠻長所爲也.100 These were probably carved by someone of a later epoch.

In the Jin dynasty, the Yi (non-Han) races of Guangzhou collected Han dynasty currency and used it to cast drums. The Official Book of the Jin Dynasty (Jin shu 晉書), ‘Shihuo zhi’ 食貨志 gives: ‘In the third year of the Taiyuan era (378), the Jin dynasty emperor Xiaowu (362–396, r. 376–396) issued a decree that stated: “Currency is the most onerous treasure of the state. The lowly person is greedy for profit and thus unceasingly ruins all that is around him, and local jiansi officials should pay close attention to this. The Yi races of Guangzhou regard bronze drums as extremely precious, but their region has never produced the copper required for casting them. I have heard that both official and private merchants from here have been there, frequently transporting currency greedily, weighing up items, and always choosing according to weight; for this reason, they entered Guangzhou. Their goods were then traded with the Yi races who melted them down and cast them into drums. This behaviour is absolutely forbidden, and those caught perpetrating it will be subject to the full rigour of the law.”’ 孝武太元三年,詔曰:錢,國之重寶。小人貪利,銷壞無已,監司當以爲意。廣州夷人寶貴銅鼓,而州境素不出銅,聞官私賈人皆於此下貪比輸錢斤兩差重,以入廣州,貨與夷人鑄敗作鼓,其重爲禁制,得者科罪.101

In this way, the Yi races of Yue used Han currency as the raw material for casting their drums, which led to the practice being forbidden by the Jin regime, and this also tells us that the ability of the Yi races of Yue to cast drums has a long history. As for those cast by the Han race, Qiongzhou fu zhi 瓊州府志, juan 43, ‘Jinshi’ 金石: ‘A bronze drum was discovered in the town of Haikou on which someone’s full name was clearly cast, and the text read: “In the twelfth year of the Chenghua era (1476) of the Magnificent Ming dynasty, in Panyu in Guangzhou, the prefectural capital, cast by Li Futong (fl. late fifteenth–early sixteenth century) of the Hakka ethnicity.”’ 海口市發現之銅鼓,其上分明鑄刻姓名,文云「大明成化十二年廣州府番禺客人李福通鑄造」.102 (The drum is now kept at the Tianning Temple [Tianning si 天寧寺].)

As for a late period bronze drum excavated in Guangxi that has eight characters cast on it in the kaishu (modern standard) script: ‘For eternal generations, family property for ten thousand dynasties, received as a treasure,’ 永世家財萬代進寶, it is likely to have been an article cast by Han craftsmen for transport into borderlands occupied by the Miao ethnicity. Regarding bronze drums bearing writing, Luo Zhenyu (羅振玉, 1866–1940) in Jinni shixie 金泥石屑 records an inscription on a bronze drum: ‘Made on the fifth day of the eleventh month of the greater jiashen qinmao (xinmao?) year.’ 大甲申親[辛?] 卯歲十一月五日造. (In the collection of Master Qian [ 錢氏, untraceable, fl. late nineteenth–early twentieth centuries] of Taicang 太倉) In addition, he states: ‘Master Li (untraceable, fl. late nineteenth–early twentieth centuries) of Yangzhou has in his collection a Jin dynasty bronze drum that has a date of the Yixi era (405–419) inscribed on it in the kaishu script, and it is undoubtedly an authentic piece. I requested a rubbing of the inscription but to no avail.’ 揚州李氏藏晉銅鼓有義熙年月,楷書陰刻,決爲真物,予求其拓本,不可得也.103

As far as Master Li’s Jin dynasty drum is concerned, Wang Jun (汪鋆, b. 1816) in Shi’er yan zhai jinshi guoyan lu 十二硯齋金石過眼錄, juan 3, states that it had come from the Yu Temple;104 however, Xu Shujun (徐樹鈞, 1842–1910) in Baoya zhai tiba 寶鴨齋題跋 explains it as employed by the yuhou 虞候 military official of ancient times and considers that it was a drum for use by the army; his justification for this is: ‘Liu Juqing (1874–1926; also called Liu Shiheng 劉世珩) had observed and set before us a rubbing of a bronze drum of the Yixi era…. its inscription read: “In the tenth month of the fourth year of the Yixi era, a drum of the yujun military official, in width three chi feet and five cun inches; the vanguard shuai commander of Ningyuan, acting kaicao commander Du Long (untraceable, fl. fifth century);” this inscription comprised twenty-five characters. Note: In the Sui dynasty, there were two yuhou officials: “left” and “right”; and in the Song dynasty, each army had a du yuhou commander who individually controlled both cavalry and infantry armies. The Jin dynasty had a kaicao canjun commander, and the Qi dynasty “left” and “right” kaicao commanders, one each. In the Sui dynasty, the “left” and “right” defence ministries each employed an individual who served as the kaicao acting canjun commander. The Jin dynasty emperor Wudi (236–290, r. 266–290) established the position of weishuai defence commander, which in the fifth year of the Taishi era (269), was divided into “left” and “right” shuai commanders, and additionally there were also “front” and “back” shuai commanders, as well as the position of “central” shuai commander, so in total five shuai commanders. The Jin dynasty had the post of Ningyuan general. The inscription on this bronze drum uses the term “yujun”, so in the Jin dynasty, there was already an official of that rank; it gives: “vanguard … Ningyuan,” which indicates a commander of Ningyuan senior to an ordinary general; it gives: “acting kaicao commander,” which is identical to the Jin dynasty kaicao can(jun) commander.’ 劉聚卿觀察出示義熙銅鼓拓本,…… 其文曰: 「義熙四年十月虞軍官鼓,廣三尺五寸,前鋒寧遠率行鎧曹杜蘢」二十五字。按隋有左右虞候,宋每軍有都虞候,分掌馬步軍。晉有鎧曹參軍,齊有左右鎧曹各一人,隋左右衛府有鎧曹行參軍事一人。晉武帝置衛率,泰始五年分爲左右率,又加前後二率,又置中衛率,是爲五率。晉有寧遠將軍,此銅鼓文曰虞軍,是晉時已有虞軍之名;曰前鋒寧遠,是寧遠將軍之率;曰行鎧曹,與晉鎧曹參[君]正同.105

Note: This Jin dynasty drum was used for military purposes and does not necessarily have any relationship to the bronze drums of non-Han Yi races of the south-west, though it does serve to prove Yu Xi’s theories in Zhilin regarding inscriptions on bronze drums. Luo Shilin’s (羅士琳, 1783–1853) Jin yixi tonggu kao 晉義熙銅鼓考 records its physical form;106 this piece, having undergone a detailed appraisal to establish its authenticity, can be regarded as the only surviving example of a Jin dynasty drum. Tang liu dian 唐六典 (by Zhang Jiuling 張九齡, 678–740, et al.; juan 16) gives: ‘According to their manufacture, drums used for military purposes can be divided into three categories: firstly, bronze drums; secondly, war drums; and thirdly, nao drums.’ 凡軍鼓之制有三: 一曰銅鼓,二曰戰鼓,三曰鐃鼓.107 This bronze drum was manufactured as a military drum.

Dazhou zhengyue 大周正樂 (by Dou Yan 竇儼, 918–960) (cited in the ‘Music Category’ of Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era) gives: ‘Bronze drums are cast from bronze; they are open at one end; the other end is covered, and this is where they are struck. Types of bronze drums of the southern non-Han Yi ethnicity, the Indo-Chinese state of Funan, and India are all like this.’ 銅鼓鑄銅爲之,虛其一面,覆而擊其上。南蠻、扶南、天竺類皆如此.108 Qu Dajun states: ‘Regarding bronze drums, those made of copper are of superior quality and those of brass inferior. Their sound abides by and emerges from the umbilical midpoint of the drumhead. In Guangzhou, there are only ten or more craftsmen able to melt the metal to cast bronze drums, and they are very secretive about their craft and will pass it on only to their sons and not their daughters.’ 凡爲銅鼓以紅銅爲上,黃銅次之。其聲在臍。廣州鍊銅鼓師不過十餘人,其法絕秘,傳子不傳女.109

Texts that deal with the excavation of bronze drums include the following: Liu Xun (劉恂, fl. ninth century) of the Tang dynasty’s Lingbiao luyi 嶺表錄異 records that in the time of the Tang dynasty emperor Xizong (唐僖宗, 862–888, r. 873–888), on the day that Zheng Yin (鄭絪, 752–829; see below) who was sent to pacify the region of Panyu arrived, the Governor of Gaozhou 高州, Lin Ai (林藹, fl. ninth century), obtained a bronze drum from the tomb of a barbarian chief on which were cast effigies of frogs and toads. In addition, it also records that at the end of the Xiantong era (咸通, 860–874), the administrator of Youzhou 幽州, Zhang Fangzhi (張方直, fl. ninth century), dug from the earth a bronze drum at Gongzhou 龔州 (modern Pingnan 平南 in Guangxi).110 Chronologically, the matter concerning Zheng Yin is listed as occurring after that of Zhang Fangzhi (which is problematic considering Zheng Yin’s lifespan).

Note: Zhu Yizun’s ba postscript regarding the two bronze drums of the Southern Sea Temple (Nanhai miao 南海廟) in Guangzhou gives: ‘The Temple of the Southern Sea God of the upper reaches of the Boluo river has two bronze drums. The provenance of the largest of these is when the Tang dynasty Military Commissioner of Lingnan, Zheng Yin, set forth on his pacification mission; the Governor of Gaozhou, Lin Ai, had obtained it from a household of the Dong ethnicity to present to Zheng Yin, and he brought it to the forecourt of the Temple where the gift was given. Its drumhead is five chi feet wide and from the hidden umbilical midpoint of the drumhead radiating outwards are evenly strewn patterns of sea fishes, crustacea, frogs, and so on. On both flanks are ears. The whole drum is slightly green in colour and mottled with patches of a cinnabar tint. (The second and smaller drum) surfaced when water levels subsided on the mudflats at Xunzhou and is entirely green in hue but speckled with markings like a partridge.’ 波羅江上南海神廟銅鼓二。大者,唐嶺南節度鄭絪出鎮時,高州守林藹得之峒戶以獻絪,納諸廟前,面闊五尺,臍隱起羅布海魚蝦蟇等紋,旁設兩耳。通體色微青,雜以丹砂瘢。一從潯州灘水湧出,色純綠,雜以鷓鴣斑.111

Xiqing gujian, juan 37, also cites the matter of Zheng Yin but gives that the bronze drum was obtained from Chunzhou 春州; Gaozhou and Chunzhou are nonetheless relatively near to each other. On investigation, it is found that on the guichou 癸丑 (fiftieth) day in the third month of the fifth year of the Yuanhe 元和 era (810) of the reign of the Tang dynasty emperor Xianzong (唐憲宗, 778–820, r. 793–820),112 Zheng Yin emerged to take up the reins of power as the Military Commissioner of Lingnan,113 thus to give these events as happening during the reign of the emperor Xizong is in fact an error. Tang yu lin 唐語林 (by Wang Dang 王讜, fl. late eleventh–early twelfth centuries), juan 1, tells of how Zheng Yin of Yangwu 陽武 desired to write a book entitled Yi bi 易比,114 which indicates he probably enjoyed a significant reputation as a Confucianist and could be named in the company of Zhang Shen (張參, 714–786) and Chang Gun (常袞, 729–783). (The Old Official Book of the Tang Dynasty [Jiu Tang shu 舊唐書; juan 159 contains a ‘Biography of Zheng Yin’ (‘Zheng Yin zhuan’ 鄭絪傳)])115 In addition, Nanhai baiyong in the entry for ‘Bronze Drum’ (‘Tonggu’ 銅鼓) gives: ‘Bronze drums are found in Southern Sea Temples of both the East and the West. The one in the East Temple has a diameter of five chi feet and five cun inches and is half as much as this in height. Folk tales tell that it is relic of the epoch of the mythical ruler Hong Shengwang.’ 南海東西廟皆有銅鼓,東廟者徑至五尺五寸,高有其半。俗謂洪聖王舊物.116

The same book also gives: ‘The armoury in the prefectural capital also possesses two specimens, and the provenance of one of these is when Tang Xizong sent Zheng Xu to pacify the region of Panyu, and the day the latter arrived, the Governor of Gaozhou, Lin Ai, presented it to him; for narration of the events, see Lingbiao luyi.’ 府之武庫亦有其二,其一蓋唐僖宗朝鄭續鎮番禺日,高州太守林藹所獻。云事見《嶺表異錄》.117 In this version of the passage, the name Zheng Yin 鄭絪 is erroneously given as Zheng Xu 鄭續, and subsequently both Huang Zuo (黃左, 1490–1566) and Ruan Yuan (阮元, 1764–1849) in Guangdong tong zhi 廣東通志 make the same mistake; it was not until Yang Ji (楊霽 b. 1837) in the Guangxu era (光緒, 1875–1909) text Gaozhou fu zhi 高州府志, 55, that the error was rectified. Only Fang Xinru takes the large drum of the East Temple of the Southern Sea and the drum that Zheng Yin obtained in Gaozhou and determines them to be two unrelated matters, which is also at variance with Zhu Yizun’s narrative.118 The large drum in the Temple of the Southern Sea God has a drumhead diameter as wide as five chi feet and five cun inches, so Zhu Zhucha regarded it as the largest of possible drums, however, Pei Yuan 裴淵 of the Jin dynasty in Record of Guangzhou (Guangzhou ji 廣州記) gives: ‘The Li and Lao ethnicities cast bronze into drums, and they only regard tall and large drums as precious, and their drumheads have to be as wide as a whole zhang (ten chi feet) or more before they can be regarded as unusual.’ 俚僚鑄銅爲鼓,鼓唯高大爲貴,面闊丈餘,方以爲奇.119 The large drum of the Southern Sea Temple bears no comparison with this. The bronze drums excavated in all areas of the Yue region have been recorded in detail by Qu Dajun. As noted by Xie Qikun (謝啓昆, 1737–1802) in ‘Investigation of Bronze Drums’ (‘Tonggu kao’ 銅鼓考), the drums of Yulinzhou 鬱林州 in Beiliu 北流 county all have a diameter of two chi feet or slightly more, and none is larger than that mentioned by Pei Yuan.120 Accounts indicate that the largest and heaviest drum of all was discovered in the second year of the Republican era in Liucheng 柳城 in Guangxi and was seven hundred jin (; 350kg) in weight; see Liucheng xian zhi 柳城縣志 (published in 1940), ‘Jin shi’ 金石.121

In The Official Book of the Chen Dynasty (Chen shu 陳書), ‘Biography of Ouyang Wei’ (‘Ouyang Wei zhuan’ 歐陽頠傳; included in juan 9; Ouyang Wei: 497–563): ‘Lan Qin (fl. sixth century) went on a campaign to subdue the Lao barbarians and captured Chen Wenche (also fl. sixth century) as well as numerous other prisoners-of-war, who presented him with a bronze drum the like of which had not been seen for several dynasties, and Ouyang Wei predicted that his achievement would be recognised by the imperial court.’ 蘭欽南征夷獠,擒陳文徹,所獲不可勝計,獻大銅鼓,累代所無,頠預其功.122 In addition is also given: ‘Ouyang Wei’s younger brother Ouyang Sheng (fl. sixth century) was appointed the administrator of Jiaozhou and his second younger brother Ouyang Sui (also fl. sixth century) appointed the administrator of Hengzhou, and the combination made for an illustrious family whose reputation caused the ground of south China to shake; on many occasions, they dispatched bronze drums and livestock to the imperial court, as well as presenting all things rich and strange.’ 時頠弟盛爲交州刺史,次弟邃爲衡州刺史,合門顯貴,名振南土。又多致銅鼓、生口,獻奉珍異.123 Note: The Ouyang clan of Changsha from Ouyang Wei to Ouyang He (歐陽紇; 537–570) was a resplendently powerful family, and their autocratic control of the region absolute.124 Their power reached as far as areas such as the borderlands of Hunan and Guangxi with Guangdong, which matches precisely the region where bronze drums were produced; thus, in that period many bronze drums were obtained, and history has called it the epoch of large drums, but sadly no detailed records survive. Those accounts that do exist usually narrate that the bronze drums that Ouyang Wei presented were won on the battlefield, and they are untrustworthy.

The New Official Book of the Tang Dynasty (Xin Tang shu 新唐書), ‘Biography of Feng Ang’ (‘Feng Ang zhuan’ 馮盎傳; in juan 110; Feng Ang: 571–646): ‘(Feng) Ziqiu (fl. seventh century) struck the bronze drum and deceptively dispatched his underlings to arrest Xu Guan (fl. seventh century);’ 子猷擊銅鼓,蒙排執御史許瓘;125 in juan 222 (‘Southern Barbarians’ [‘Nanman’ 南蠻]), Part Three (of Three), a section titled ‘(South of the) Western Cuan’ (‘Xicuan [zhi nan]’ 西爨[之南]): ‘Assemble together, strike bronze drums, blow horns.’ 會聚擊銅鼓吹角.126 Broad Records of the Taiping Era (Taiping guang ji 太平廣記; completed in 978), juan 205 (section titled ‘Bronze Drums’ [‘Tonggu’ 銅鼓]): ‘In the Zhenyuan era (785–805) of the Tang dynasty, the households of chieftains of the southern barbarians all had bronze drums.’ 唐貞元中,南蠻酋首之家皆有此鼓.127 Bronze drums were clearly a symbol of power for the inhabitants of south China, and whenever they assembled, they played on these drums for their amusement.

As shown in Li Jiarui’s (李家瑞, 1895–1975) ‘Distribution Map of Bronze Drums since the Han and Jin Dynasties’ (‘Han Jin yilai tonggu fenbu ditu’ 漢晉以來銅鼓分佈地圖),128 a reasonable deduction made according to those areas where bronze drums have been discovered with comparative frequency is that these instruments were originally the possessions of the Yi (different from the non-Han Yi ), Miao , Zhuang , and Yao ethnicities, however, up until the present, the only evidence that the Yi had the bronze drum comes from the Shizhai mountain locality in Yunnan. In other words, there are no written records that the bronze drum was played by the Tang dynasty Wuman 烏蠻 barbarians of the south-west, which has led some scholars to speculate that the Yi were not definitively an ethnicity that played the bronze drum.129 He Jisheng’s 何紀生 rewritten ‘Gudai tonggu fenbu diyu’ 古代銅鼓分布地域130 supplies abundant material and indicates that in the six south-western provinces, bronze drums have been unearthed from a total of 132 locations, which is abundant evidence to demonstrate that they were an intrinsic component of the common culture of the races of the south-west and did not belong only to the Luoyue cultural system.

In 1974, Hong Sheng 洪聲 published his Research into the Ancient Bronze Drums of Guangxi (Guangxi gudai tonggu yanjiu 廣西古代銅鼓研究) that established that according to accession numbers, the Guangxi Zhuang Ethnicity Autonomous Region Museum had startlingly collected a total of 325 bronze drums, and of these, those of Guangxi were the most numerous.131 Evidently, from the Han and Jin dynasties onwards, the Li and Lao ethnicities treated the casting of bronze drums as an ennobling activity. On examining artifacts excavated at the Warring States tombs in the Yin mountains at Pingle 平樂 in Guangxi, there is only weaponry made of bronze, that is, spears and swords, and no bronze drums are to be found, which means that the custom of casting bronze drums is not as early there as it was in the Dian region. This has therefore led scholars of recent times to postulate that the non-Han Yi races of the Dian south-western marches were the first to manufacture bronze drums.132

Regarding the origin of bronze drums, Wang Shu (王澍, 1668–1743; the intended individual is actually Zhang Shu 張澍, 1776–1847) of the Qing dynasty in Shiben cuiji buzhu 世本粹集補注 cites Du You’s Tongdian and gives: ‘Shiben (a lost Warring States text) tells: “Wu Xian (fl. Shang dynasty) made a bronze drum.”’ 《世本》:巫咸作銅鼓.133 In (Records of the Grand Historian [Shi ji 史記]) ‘Fundamental Annals of the Yin Dynasty’ (‘Yin benji’ 殷本紀; juan 3), Wu Xian was an official of the ruler Da Wu (大戊; fl. Shang dynasty) who successfully administered the affairs of the royal household and wrote Xian’s Governance (Xian Yi 咸乂).134 In Hubei, a Shang dynasty two-headed fen-type bronze drum has been excavated that demonstrates that the record in Shiben is not entirely devoid of foundation. Note: Tongdian, juan 144: ‘Bronze drums are cast from bronze; they are open at one end; the other end is covered, and this is where they are struck. Types of bronze drums of the southern non-Han Yi ethnicities, the Indo-Chinese state of Funan, and India are all like this; in Lingnan, they are possessed by wealthy families; the largest are more than a zhang in width.’ 銅鼓,鑄銅爲之,虛其一面,覆而擊其上,南夷、扶南、天竺類皆如此,嶺南豪家則有之。大者廣丈餘.135 In addition, (Tongdian) ‘Leather Category’ (‘Gelei’ 革類; in juan 144) gives: ‘Regarding drums, Shiben states that non-Han Yi races make drums.’ 鼓,《世本》云:夷作鼓.136 This reference clearly indicates leather-headed drums. Wang (Zhang) Shu goes on to elaborate that when Zhuge Liang (諸葛亮, 181–234) made bronze drums, he took as his template the one mentioned in the context of Wu Xian.

On investigation of actual specimens, the bronze drum age can be pushed back to the Yin dynasty. Those furnished with fine and elegant geometric thunder patterns are early items of ancient history and were already circulating in the Warring States period; those with the embossed script of ‘five zhu coinage on plaques prepared for writing to be moulded on have a provenance that reaches into the late Han dynasty.137 All the bronze drums documented in Xiqing gujian are regarded as being of Han dynasty provenance, a notion that is the result of scholars of earlier generations being constrained by the Ma Fubo theory. In the epoch of the Tang dynasty emperor Zhaozong (唐昭宗, 867–904, r. 888–904), Liu Xun describes a bronze drum that he had seen: ‘All over its body were images of insects, fish, flowers, and grasses.’ 其身遍有蟲魚花草之狀.138

From the Sui dynasty onwards, the power and influence of the Han gradually penetrated neighbouring areas of the non-Han Yi , Lao, Man, and Dan races, and craftsmanship and technologies were gradually absorbed over the generations and became ever more refined. The casting of bronze drums went as far as to use melted Han dynasty coinage as its raw material, for example, the bronze drum that emerged from the tomb of Yang Can (楊粲, fl. late twelfth–early thirteenth centuries) in Zunyi 遵義 in Guizhou was cast from Song dynasty Yuanyou era (元祐, 1086–1093) tongbao 通寶 currency.139 The Official History of the Ming Dynasty (Ming shi 明史), ‘Biography of Liu Xian’ (‘Liu Xian zhuan’ 劉顯傳; in juan 212; Liu Xian: d. 1581) records that in the ninth year of the Wanli 萬曆 era (1580), the xunfu 巡撫 Governor-General of Sichuan obtained ninety-three drums from Jiusi 九絲 mountain in Xingwen 興文 county. This is the largest single quantity of bronze drums recorded in historical texts and indicates that widespread manufacture took place in later periods. Li Guangting’s (李光庭, fl. late eighteenth–early nineteenth centuries) compilation Jijin cun 吉金存, juan 4, includes two bronze drums, of which one even has a pattern of the character (‘you’, meaning: ‘the 10th earthly branch’) in its central aura, with the character itself used as the source of the design; in addition, the other in its second aura has incised images of animals and what appear to be branches bearing blossom in the style of Chinese paintings.140 Whether this piece is a forgery cannot be ascertained, but both belong to a late period and represent the phenomenon of a style after it has deeply imbibed Han culture.

3 Records of Bronze Drums Overseas Together with Discussion of ‘Export Drums’

Prof. Matsumoto Nobuhiro (松本信廣, 1897–1981) in his book A Study of the Religious Thoughts of Ancient Indian and Chinese Rice Farmers gives detailed exposition one by one of the bronze drums held in every area and only to some extent does not touch on those kept in certain regions overseas.141

Juan 37 of Xiqing gujian includes fourteen bronze drums. The first of these has a drumhead that is in diameter two chi feet, five cun inches, and three fen, and to the side of the drumhead, ridden by a knight and galloping forth, an effigy of a horse is leaning, a format said not to have been found on ancient specimens (Figure 7.b). Shang Chengzuo’s (商承祚, 1902–1991) Shi’er jia jijin tulu 十二家吉金圖錄 includes a bronze drum belonging to Sun Zhuang (孫壯, b. 1879), soubriquet Xueyuan 雪園, and its patterns include four mounted knights, and at the drum rim, six people are dancing, which is an extremely similar genre of design.142 The second, third, fourth, and sixth drums of Xiqing gujian are furnished with four frogs; the remaining drums have coinage patterns, flags and banners, birds, lightning patterns, and so on, and these characteristics are not at all like those of the first drum. (Xiqing) xujian jiabian (西清)續鑑甲編 (also completed in 1751) records four drums, and all have no frogs. The first of these drums has a drumhead diameter of approximately two chi feet and five cun inches, and the others are small drums, the third and fourth sporting patterns of flags and banners.143 Xiqing xujian yibian 西清續鑑乙編 (also completed in 1751) lists five drums, of which one is furnished with four frogs and whose diameter is approximately two chi feet and four cun inches, while the others are small drums whose diameters are about a chi, and they have no frogs.144 All the drums recorded in Xiqing gujian were kept on the Chinese mainland and a part of those listed in the Sequels were found on Taiwan, that is, those mentioned below as in the collection of the Central Museum.

Figure 7.b
Figure 7.b

The first illustration of a drum in Xiqing gujian

Photo Authorized by Shin Wen Feng Print Company

Han bronze drum, no. 1.

The drums currently held in the Shilin 士林 Palace Museum are ancient items that had been accepted into the former Central Museum from the Palace Museum of Shenyang (Fengtian xinggong 奉天行宮), and they include a large drum whose old accession number is 451. Its diameter is 77cm and rope-like patterns decorate its four ears. Apart from the four frogs on the drumhead, at the edges are perched luan phoenixes, one on each, though the arrangement is not symmetrical. Of the three hundred bronze drums collected in Guangxi, some have frog decorations, but on none is a luan phoenix to be seen, so this is a most unique characteristic (Figure 7.c). On the auras of the other four drums, all have patterns of flags and banners, with the slight variations in design: , , and , and on one, the aura is formed of human face patterns; on another, the patterned design is almost completely worn flat and indiscernible.

In the region of Xingma (星馬, Singapore and Malaysia), regarding excavated bronze drums that are well known, they have been found in the following locations on the Malayan peninsula:

  1. A drum excavated in Batu Pasir Garam, Sungai Tembeling, in the state of Pahang and now held in the Singapore Museum; the centre of the drumhead emits a ten-rayed radiant star.

  2. A fragment of a drum found in 1964 in the town of Klang in the state of Selangor. In the auras of this fragment are four flying birds. It is somewhat similar to the drum in the Sichuan University Historical Museum145 and the tenth drum in Xiqing gujian; drums of this kind are likely to be imports from China.

In addition, a drum has also been excavated in Klang that is said to be an artifact of Dong mountain culture, but investigation of its form and manufacture reveals that it is in fact similar to bronze bells excavated from the tomb of the bronze inner coffin of Dabona, Xiangyun county, Yunnan;146 all conform to a design of wide upper bouts tapering to narrower lower reaches, and their horizontal cross-section is an oval shape similar to that of the chunyu genre and thus worthy of closer research.

Figure 7.c
Figure 7.c

Bronze drum with four frogs and a perching phoenix. (In the collection of the Taiwan Central Museum)

Photo Authorized by Shin Wen Feng Print Company

In Singapore (here given as Xingzhou 星洲), regarding bronze drums in private collections, I have viewed items in two depositories:

  1. Dr Lin Xudian’s 林徐典 residence contains two drums:

    Drum A: The centre of the drumhead emits a six-rayed radiant star. The thorax has nineteenth auras, alternating cloud-thunder and hempen cloth patterns, and the ears are adorned with roped patterns. At the drumhead edge are four frogs, though these are already damaged.

    Drum B: The centre of the drumhead emits a twelve-rayed radiant star, and the auras are nine in total. The fifth aura has the pattern . The drum is 28cm tall and its drumhead diameter is approximately 48cm. It has four ears with rope patterns, and these are intact and in excellent condition. One of the auras has a human face pattern that is the same as that on the drum in the Central Museum.

  2. The distinguished Chen Zhichu’s (陳之初, 1909–1972) Xiangxue zhai 香雪齋 keeps three drums.

Drums A and B both have twelve-rayed radiant stars emitting from their centres and frog effigies that are not limited to one aura. Drum C is the same, but on one side it has two effigies of elephants that are absent on the other side. All belong to the third model of Franz Heger’s (黑格爾, 1853–1931) classification system, and they must therefore come from Myanmar.

Regarding Master Lin’s collection, according to his family records, Drum A was bought by his father from Sarawak and Drum B (Figure 7.d) came initially from an individual surnamed ‘Lin’ of Hainan who was serving as an official in Guangxi and who took it to Wenchang (in Hainan); his father later brought it personally to Singapore. Drum B clearly originates from Guangxi; its flag and banner patterns are the same as the design on the specimen shown in figure 40 of Master Wen’s Gu tonggu tulu, a drum kept in a private collection in Guiyang. Master Wen gives: ‘I have seen some fifty or more actual specimens that resemble this drum.’ 所見貴物與此相近者在五十具以上.147 The eighth, twelfth, and thirteenth drums in Xiqing gujian as well as three small drums in the Central Museum all carry patterns that are similar to these. Specimens collected in Liuzhou 柳州 as illustrated in figure 10 of A Preliminary Investigation of Bronze Drums of Guangxi (Guangxi tonggu chutan 廣西銅鼓初探; by [modern scholar] Huang Zengqing 黃增慶) are also the same,148 from which it is seen that patterns of this type were extremely widespread in Guangxi. There can therefore be absolutely no doubt that this drum was of a type manufactured in China that had penetrated the regions around the South China Sea. My own rudimentary opinion is that bronze drums excavated or preserved in South-East Asia should be strictly differentiated into two discrete genres: those produced by indigenous manufacture and those imported from China. The latter are exports from China, just as varieties of porcelain included types specifically produced for export, and Master Lin’s Drum B is a pertinent example of just such a phenomenon. Therefore, to those researching into bronze drums of the regions bordering the South China Sea, distinguishing which are ‘export’ drums cannot be neglected.

The blossoming of patterns of flags and banners was comparatively late, and this is a scholarly field that Feng Hanji has analysed, and he has drawn attention to pattern types combining flags and banners and the character (‘shou’, meaning ‘longevity’) on drums kept in Yunnan. Gui Fu (桂馥, 1735–1805) of the Qing dynasty, when living in Kunming, once wrote a ba postscript on a bronze mirror that carried patterns of flags and banners, and declared that the mirror handle had seal script characters on it that read: ‘On the first day of the fifth month … for Wang’s children and grandchildren down the generations to hold in their possession;’ 五月初吉□王子子孫孫永用;149 the writing reads from right to left, the characters are all inverted, and it was obtained in Dingyuan 定遠, but its patterns are identical to those on the bronze drum. Master Gui determined that it was an artifact of the Nan Zhao 南詔 state, so it did not need to conform to Tang dynasty calendrical conventions regarding the names of eras and instead simply furnishes the month of manufacture and nothing more.150 Although it may indeed not be an artifact of the Nan Zhao state, nonetheless, given that it employs bronze drum pattern types on a mirror, it is an extremely rare specimen.

Regarding bronze drums currently kept in Taiwan, apart from two drums at Taiwan University about which records have already been furnished by Ling Chunsheng (凌純聲, 1902–1981), such as have reached my eyes and ears are outlined briefly below:

The Taipei Nanhai Road (Nanhai lu 南海路) History Museum has a huge drum in its collection that was obtained during the Second World War from Bao mountain in Yunnan and donated by Huang Qiang (黃強, 1887–1974). From the centre of the drum, the sun’s rays are emitted along eight pathways, and there are six registers of auras on the drumhead and six frogs. It is a drum of Heger’s second type. Rope patterns that are simple in design are found on the pair of ears. The drum is 62.55cm tall and 104.78cm in diameter, with a diameter at the base of 115.57cm. The frogs are 3.18cm high, 6.67cm long, and 3.81cm wide (Figure 7.e).

Figure 7.d
Figure 7.d

Bronze drum B. In the private collection of Lin Xudian of Singapore

Photo Authorized by Shin Wen Feng Print Company

This Museum also has in its collection two small drums: the drumhead of one has six frogs, a radiant star emitting light rays of eight pathways, and its patterns are of ‘matted’ (xi ) and ‘wave’ (bolang 波浪) types; on the drumhead of the other are four small frogs, light rays of six paths, and above are coinage patterns.

According to The Official History of the Ming Dynasty (Ming shi), ‘Dili zhi’ 地理志 (juan 40–46), Bao mountain was under the jurisdiction of Yongchang 永昌, the prefectural capital. In the east of the county is Ailao 哀牢 mountain.151 The Tianqi era (天啓, 1621–1627) text Dianzhi guji 滇志古跡 (by Liu Wenzheng 劉文徵, 1555–1626): ‘The Zhuge well is at Ailao, and on the mountain is an enormous rock.’ 諸葛井,在哀牢,其山上一巨石.152 Also: ‘At Bao mountain, there is a break in the mountain chain, and in a former time, Wu Hou (another name for Zhuge Liang) passed through this place.’ 保山斷脈,昔武侯過此地.153 Also: ‘Ten li to the south-west of the Tengyue prefecture is a place called Leigu mountain (literally: “strike the drum mountain”). Kong Ming (another name for Zhuge Liang) bivouacked his army there and had his drums struck on the mountain.’ 騰越州西南十里曰擂鼓山,孔明駐兵擊鼓其上.154 In the locality of Bao mountain, there have consistently been numerous legends about Zhuge’s drumming, and although they are by their very nature untrustworthy, the manufacture of bronze drums here is not accidental.

The Taipei Provincial Museum has six bronze drums in its collection, which are, according to the accession catalogue, old items of Japanese provenance, originally sought out and bought in Guangdong. Of these, most deserving of attention are two drums:

Drum A

The original Museum accession number is 1713. The drum is 38.58cm in height and its drumhead 59.21cm in diameter tapering slightly to 58.10cm at the base. On the drum rim are three frogs and three bulls or cows; the radiant star has seven rays, and each of these is furnished with a sun-like emblematic pattern of the design . The auras on the drumhead form four registers, and the component designs of the register nearest the edge resemble the sun-like motif described above, while the other three registers are composed of square-like patterns. The patterns on the body of the drum are also like these, and the ears are not furnished with rope-like designs. This is a drum of Master Heger’s second type, and its date of manufacture comparatively late.

Figure 7.e
Figure 7.e

Bronze drum of Bao mountain, Yunnan

Photo Authorized by Shin Wen Feng Print Company

Drum B

The original accession number is ‘south 960’. The drum is 26.67cm tall, the diameter of its drumhead 47.63cm, and the diameter at the base 46.36cm. On the drumhead, the radiant light-emitting star has twelve rays, and cicada designs are found in between these. The ears exhibit rope patterns. It is of the fourth Hegerian type. On the drumhead, the auras comprise eight registers and are interspersed with patterns formed of the emblem and of the nipple-nodule type. Inside the fifth aura, dragon patterns are incised, and two lines of Chinese characters cast, their inscription moulded in relief; one reads: ‘For ten thousand generations, a received treasure’ 萬代進寳; the other reads: ‘For eternal descendants, a family heirloom’ 永世家財. Another six characters form a horizontal line set inside a frame and appear to be: ‘Made in the sixth year of the … guang era by….’ ?光六年 ?□造. The overall effect is neither clear nor well-defined and likely to have been subsequently appended. Huang Zengqing’s Guangxi tonggu chutan gives: ‘A drum collected in Bama county carries the inscription: “Set up in the second year of the Daoguang era (1822),”’ 在巴馬縣採集的一件上有「道光二年建立」的銘文,155 which could be used as a point of comparison. Specimens in the Sichuan Museum in Chengdu (Wen You’s Gu tonggu tulu, fig. 49) and the Royal Imperial Natural History Court Museum in Vienna as well as figure 16 in Huang Zengqing’s book,156 a drum collected in Liuzhou, all belong to type four of Heger’s drum classification system and have dragon patterns and eight-character aphorisms such as: ‘For ten thousand generations, a received treasure; for eternal descendants, a family heirloom;’ thus, there are in total four known examples of drums of this category. Drums of this type that carry inscriptions have an extremely late provenance and are copies made by Han Chinese and not the craftsmanship of non-Han Yi ethnicities of the south-west.

Regarding the other four drums in the collection, all exhibit the commonly seen patterns of flags and banners. Of these, one that was originally given the accession number 958 has a twelve-rayed radiant star and is the same as the specimen in Master Lin’s collection in Singapore that also sports a twelve-rayed radiant star. It has a finely grained banner pattern and belongs to the fourth type in the categorisation system. The other specimens are not discussed here.

The distinguished Li Chengfa 李成發 of Taipei has in his family collection a drum whose drumhead diameter is 68cm and height 51cm; the circumference around the body at the widest point is 155cm and the diameter at the base 51cm. It has a three-layered design of four frogs at the four corners, and above and below the ears are rope-like patterns. The lower portion of the thorax is in shape a rounded bamboo segment, that is, a drum of Heger’s third type. On the drumhead is a twelve-pointed star. The auras comprise two registers and are surrounded by fish and waterweed, intricately beautiful and ingeniously crafted. Zunyi fu zhi 遵義府志 (completed in 1838), ‘Jinshi’ 金石 (juan 11) gives: ‘On the faces of the bronze drum on all sides are patterns of flowers, grasses, insects, and frogs. They are of classic beauty and elegance, with a dappled and speckled appearance. In the nineteenth year of the Jiaqing era (1814), the aborigines dug a specimen from the ground that resembled this type of drum very closely.’ 銅鼓四周花草蟲黽紋,古致斑駁。嘉慶十九年土人掘得,殆此一類之鼓.157 Master Li also has a small drum that carries flag and banner patterns and conforms to the fourth type of the classification system.

(Modern scholar) Wang Ningsheng 汪寧生 in his writings discusses drums of the Ximeng 西盟 (a placename, in Yunnan) type, which are to be classified in Heger’s third category and are widely disseminated in Myanmar and Thailand. According to the Catalogue, several dozen specimens of this kind have been accessioned into the collection of the Yunnan Museum, and they are probably a late type of drum that was common in the south-west. He cites material from The Encyclopedia of Burma (Miandian baikequanshu 緬甸百科 全書) entry on patterns on bronze that indicates that the centre for the manu- facture of this genre of drums was Kayah state, and buyers from other states in Myanmar came there to make purchases.158 Drum making began there some five hundred years ago and until recent times casting was still taking place, and it was the Zhuang ethnicity of China that had brought the technology into Myanmar. In the Thailand Museum, I viewed a fragment of a bronze drum on which standing effigies of frogs were not to be found, but had been replaced by snails as decoration, which is a very gaudy and individual variant. It also had railing-type patterning that closely resembles domestic architecture of the Wa ethnicity of Ximeng (see Figure 7.h) and has its own special characteristics.

Friends and colleagues have spoken of bronze drums in Indonesian museums that are also carved with Chinese characters. In fact, having gone to Jakarta to carry out special investigations together with museum personnel, I found that these observations were in fact misunderstandings of patterning.

In the exhibition hall of the Gambir (a placename) Museum in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, regarding the bronze drums in the collection, the largest are four in number (it is said that the biggest was unearthed in Pedejang in Bali, and it is two metres in diameter). Drums of a middle size are eight in number, and there are five small drums. The principal places where they have been excavated include the following locations:159

Table 7.1
Table 7.1

Principal places where drums in the Gambir Museum were excavated

In addition, there is also a drum excavated in Bantam which is of the fourth type in the classification system; furnished with a pair of ears, it has a flat-faced short body and an overall shape , which is strikingly similar to the form of Master Lin of Singapore’s drum. Note: Bantam is two and half hours by bus or rail from Jakarta. Called Wandan 萬丹 in Chinese, it was formerly a small mercantile town, whose contact with China was the earliest of the region. To this day, an ancient temple exists there whose name is ‘Wandan, Guanyin, the Buddhist Ancestor’ (Wandan Guanyin fozu 萬丹觀音佛祖) that was established in 1566.160 It was originally called ‘The Academy of Ten Thousand Virtuous Moralities’ (Wande yuan 萬德院) and inside on bronze chimes are cast the lines: ‘Presented respectfully by Chen Zhancheng (fl. nineteenth century), arrayed and displayed as a gift afore the terrace of the Wandan Buddhist Ancestor; the twenty-fourth year of the Guangxu era (1898), the wuxu year … set-up.’ 陳展成敬奉,萬丹佛祖臺前,光緒二十四年戊戌…… . Nearby, dating to the nineteenth year of the emperor Qianlong’s reign (1754), is also Gao Caiguan of Nanjing’s Tomb (Nanjing Gao Caiguan mu 南靖高彩官墓); relics such as these of Chinese people are extremely abundant. This drum’s shape and method of manufacture resemble closely those exported from China, which is a fact that deserves to be noticed. Zhang Xie’s (張燮, 1574–1640) Investigation of the East and West Oceans (Dong xi yang kao 東西洋考; the East and West Oceans are the eastern and western halves of the South China Sea), the entry on the products of Xiagang (下港, the Ming dynasty name for Bantam) gives: ‘The bronze drums there are the same as those now used by Chinese people, and of all the countries in the region, most are found in Java. When brought into vibration, their sound is sufficient to prevent the clouds from moving, and individually their value can reach several dozen gold ingots.’ 銅鼓即今華人所用者,諸國以爪哇爲最。振響遏雲,價值可數十金.161 Thus, it is seen that the bronze drums of Java have all along had an intimate relationship with those of China.

Regarding bronze drums in Singapore, the specimen in the collection of the Raffles Museum was excavated near the Tembeling river in Pahang in 1926. Matsumoto 40, it belongs to type two of the Heger classification scheme. Those who have discussed it have speculated that it is a ‘round-vessel’ (guan ) drum of the Han dynasty, of a similar genre to those described in Yulinzhou zhi 鬱林州志 (compiled in 1891).162

Regarding the damaged drum excavated in the environs of Klang in Selangor on the Malay peninsula, Matsumoto 41 cites a detailed description of it in The Journal of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko (Tōyō-Gakuhō 東洋学報): on the drumhead is a radiant star of ten rays, and the design of the fifth aura is a pattern of four flying birds; the drumhead patterns are extremely similar to those on the only bronze drum unearthed at a Han dynasty tomb in Gui county in Guangxi. The drumhead radiant star of the latter has eight rays, see Matsumoto 11; the remainder consists of ‘comb-tooth’ (zhi chi 櫛齒) patterns, small circles containing hearts, and designs of four flying birds; their form and positioning are all identical. Thus, the Selangor drum can be confirmed as a Han dynasty specimen of the Luoyue culture from Guangxi that penetrated at an early date into the Malay peninsula.

In recent years, bronze drums have also been excavated on the Malay peninsula at two locations: Selangor and Terengganu on the East Sea coast.

Location A

In 1964 in Kampong Sungai Lang in Selangor, two specimens were unearthed, one a large drum with superimposed folded patterns (lei die 壘疊) and the other a small drum with small square holes at the neck-ear area where rope marks are also found. According to the results of radiocarbon dating, the latter was made in the period around 485 BCE, somewhat prior to the Han dynasty.

For description and analysis of these two drums, see B. A. V. Peacock, The Drums at Kampong Sungai Lang; for pictures, see Malaya in History, vol. 10, 1965, no. 1; for the small drum, see also Malaysia in History, vol. 11, 1967, nos. 1–2. The large drum has a radiant star of twelve rays and four frogs. When compared with figures three and four of Huang Zengqing’s text, it is of the second type (middle period), and its patterns closely resemble those of specimens collected at Dayao 大傜 mountain and Guiping 桂平 county of central Guangxi. The auras of these are irregularly wide and narrow, and the fifth and sixth decorated with patterns of flying egrets, feathered humanoids and interlinked circular emblems, and ‘comb-and-eye’ (zhi mu 櫛目) designs; there is not a great deal of difference between the drums. This template also shares similarity with a specimen in the collection of the Sichuan University Museum of History that is illustrated in figure 25 of Wen You’s book and regarded as a late period drum of the B type. Thus, the indications are that the large drum (one of the two excavated in Selangor) was also an item imported from Guangxi. The drumhead of the small drum is supplied with patterns of four flying birds, and its special characteristic is that there are square holes at the neck-ear area. When the two drums were excavated, it was found that they had both been placed on wooden planks, which indicates that they had been greatly treasured by their original owners.

Location B

In June of 1964 in Kuala Trengganu, two drums were excavated, and according to the Heger classification system both were of the first type. They were the first specimens found on the eastern seaboard of Malaysia. For explanation and illustration, see: Peacock: ‘Two Dong So’n Drums from Kuala Trengganu’, Malaysia in History, vol. 10:2, 1967. The first drumhead is decorated with patterns of paired layers of birds, and the incised area cut with boat shapes furnished with oars. Above this are designs of interlinked patterns that turn back on themselves and sawtooth patterns.

The Musée Louis Finot (now called the National Museum of Vietnamese History) of Hanoi in Vietnam has many bronze drums in its collection. My French friend the scholar Dr L. Vandermeersch has written an article: ‘Bronze Kettledrums of South-East Asia’ (Journal of Oriental Studies 3, 1956:291, Hong Kong), and its accompanying figures are worthy of consideration. Of these drums, specimens of the fourth type were excavated at Long-Lôi-són and Há-nam, and Pinh Schiang on the Chinese border. All have flag and banner patterns, and between pairs of auras are patterns of protruding round nodules; for pictures, see the above paper, pls. XIIXV; the patterning is same as that found on a drum of Master Lin of Singapore. The specimen in the pictures appended to Zheng Shixu’s (鄭師許, 1897–1952) Tonggu kaolüe 銅鼓考略 that discusses drums in the Shanghai Museum collection (fig. 1 in the original book) is entirely identical.

Drums of the fourth type in Heger’s classification system, according to Zheng’s research results, clearly have a relationship with Han people, and the places where they have been excavated run in a belt across southern China; to this day among the Miao ethnicity of north Guangxi bordering on Hunan and Guizhou there are people who still use them. The drums in Hanoi of the fourth type also include some that come from China. Owing to their small size, drums of this type are readily portable and so easily disseminated and exporting them can be conveniently accomplished. In Guangxi, many drums were excavated in the Song dynasty in Hengzhou 橫州 and Binzhou 濱州. The Official History of the Song Dynasty (Song shi), ‘Wuxing zhi’ 五行志 (juan 61–67) records that in the Xining 熙寧 and Yuanfeng 元豐 eras (respectively, 1068–1077 and 1078–1085), seventeen bronze drums were obtained in Hengzhou and one ancient bronze drum in Binzhou. Evidently, bronze drums that had originally been excavated in Heng county (that is, Hengzhou) and Binyang 賓陽 (that is, Binzhou) could be easily brought into Vietnam.

4 The Literature of Bronze Drums

Down the various dynasties, many works have been composed by literati on the subject of bronze drums, including Tang dynasty shi poems by Du Mu (杜牧, 803–852) and Xu Hun (許渾, 788–860), and ci poems (lyric songs) by Wen Tingyun (溫庭筠, c.812–c.870) and Sun Guangxian (孫光憲, 896–968); all mention bronze drums in association with the ritual offering of sacrifices to temple gods as a universally acknowledged fact.

4.1 The Drum of the Temple of the Southern Sea God

Ever since Fang Xinru of the Song dynasty’s Nanhai baiyong, the bronze drum in the Temple of the Southern Sea God in Guangzhou has appeared several times in shi and fu poetical compositions. Li Suiqiu (黎遂球, 1602–1646) of the Ming dynasty in the xu introduction to his ‘Boluo tonggu fu’ 波羅銅鼓賦 gives: ‘At the Boluo River temple is a bronze drum, and its drumhead is decorated with a pair of frogs. It is said that it was cast by Ma Fubo. Formerly, it was buried in the ground, and at that place the croaking of frogs was often heard, so a hole was dug, and it was brought to the surface. One of the frog effigies still remained on it. The drum was presented to the temple and from time to time is played in ceremonies propitiating Zhurong, the God of Fire.’ 波羅廟有一銅鼓,面綴兩蛙。云是馬伏波將軍所鑄,向埋地中,其處每聞蛙聲,因掘起得之。蛙形尚存其一。共奉鼓於廟,時鳴以祀祝融.163 Although the events recounted are both fictitious and ridiculous, they do indicate that the people of the Yue region played the bronze drum in ceremonies propitiating the God of Fire and demonstrate that this custom had a long history. The Book of the Barbarians (Manshu 蠻書; by Fan Chuo 樊綽, fl. ninth century) states that when the Ba clan made ceremonial sacrifices to their ancestors, they struck drums as part of the ritual.

In the Qing dynasty, the poet Liang Peilan (梁佩蘭, 1629–1705) of Lingnan wrote ‘Song of the Bronze Drum in the Temple of the Southern Sea God’ (‘Nanhai shenmiao tonggu ge’ 南海神廟銅鼓歌) and an extract of this poem is cited here: ‘In the Southern Sea Temple, the God is the Ruler of Handsome Profit; when the Four Seas were quartered, his was the southern part. Bronze drums are placed in the left portion of the Ruler’s temple; solemn and stately, from the drums hang four small locks. When the Greater Shaman strikes the drums, the tide water levels; when the Lesser Shaman strikes the drums, the river water clears. The fifteenth day full moon of the second month is the Ruler’s birthday; to the sound of drums, the acolytes, making obeisance, exit and enter.’ 南海廟神廣利王,割據四海南海方。銅鼓置在王廟左,莊嚴 鼓懸四小鎖。大巫一扣潮水平,小巫一扣江水清。二月望日王生日,鼓聲掌人拜出入.164 Evidently, in the early Qing dynasty at the Temple of the Southern Sea God, a vernacular custom was sustained of shamans striking drums as prayerful offerings. Men of letters of other provinces who came to the Yue region all took an abiding interest in its bronze drums.

Zhao Zhixin (趙執信, 1662–1744) in his shi poem ‘Passing the Temple of the Southern Sea, as it was too late to ascend therein, presented to Fellow Boat Passenger Wang Mingfu’ (‘Guo Nanhai miao, yi wan buji deng, cheng tongzhou Wang Mingfu’ 過南海廟,以晚不及登,呈同舟王明府; Wang Mingfu, fl. late seventeenth–early eighteenth centuries) gives: ‘At the ancient temple of the Boluo River, at dusk, the door had shut itself; the lustre of Changli’s writings shines amidst the arrayed stars. The bronze drum of Luoyue is cold yet still sounds; at this moment, Zhurong is visiting the Hundred Spirits of the Sea. The sea wind soughs and sighs, the clouds are dusky dark; at Fuxu, the dragons and fish higgledy-piggledy are dispatched and received.’ 波羅古廟昏自扃,昌黎文光閃列星。駱越銅鼓寒有聲,祝融此時朝百靈;海風颯颯雲冥冥,扶胥龍魚紛送迎.165 (Changli: another name for the poet Han Yu 韓愈, 768–824) Even though Zhao had not yet seen the bronze drum, he was able to give it embodiment in poetry.

Li Kai (李鍇, 1686–1746) composed Songs of Three Instruments (Sanqi ge 三器歌) of which the first describes the bronze drum of the Temple of the Southern Sea God with the following lines: ‘Deep voice, cavernous body, drumhead thin as paper; four beasts crouch in ambush like curled chi dragons. A fish-filled sea, heavenly horses, patterned registers hidden or rising; jewelled net, fine delineation, golden silkworm threads. Deeply speckled in red and green, ancient colour thickly daubed; black ice in solidified union, its soul a crocodile skin.’ 深腔洞底面紙薄,四獸蹲伏如盤螭。魚海天馬重隱起,寶網細界金蠶絲。斑淹丹碧古色湛,玄冰凝結靈鼉皮.166 This takes the drum patterns and describes them in minute detail.

In the yimao 乙卯 year of the reign of the emperor Qianlong (1795), Zhu Gui (朱珪, 1731–1806) of Daxing 大興 came to the Southern Sea to take part in a sacrificial ceremony at the God’s Temple and composed a ‘Song of the Bronze Drum’ (‘Tonggu ge’ 銅鼓歌) an extract of which reads: ‘Looking at the bronze drum, it is of form rich and strange; its diameter full five chi, its circumference a zhang and five cun inches; its face flat, body empty, decorated with jiao and kui dragons. Striking it “keng-hong”, still more “tang-ta”; its body massive, manufacture ancient, a remnant of whom? Let its splendid words give voice, vibrating for ten li (about three miles); scaring off foreign vessels, the army of the Boluo River! … The dingning (dingzheng) bell (obtained from) the senior concubine had already suffered damage after being struck. (Original note: “The ‘palace west second drum’ is in diameter only a fifth smaller than this drum, and its body is already split from striking it.”) Accounts indicate that in the Yuanhe era (806–820), the Military Commissioner Zheng obtained it from the (tai)shou Governor of Gao(zhou) and donated it to the Temple. (Original note: “According to Guangdong tong zhi, in the Tang dynasty, the Governor of Gaozhou, Lin Ai, obtained it from a barbarian tomb; the Military Commissioner Zheng Yin took it and presented it to the Temple.”) Every time in the summer heat when pestilence and scrofulous disease erupt, it is moved and placed in the prison to expel the fierce chi monster….’ 載觀銅鼓模範奇,徑盈五尺圍丈五,面平空腹蟠蛟夔,叩之鏗鍧更鞺鞳,體恢製古誰所遺?夸言發聲震十里,驚走番舶波羅師﹗……丁寧右媵撞已虧。(原注: 「殿西亞鼓」徑小五分之一,腹已撞裂。)誌云元和節度鄭,得自高守供諸祠。(原注: 《通志》唐高州守林靄得于蠻冢,節度使鄭絪以獻廟。)……每當夏歊疫癘作,移置狴犴禳兇魑.167

Xia Zhirong (夏之蓉, 1697–1784) wrote an investigative summary of bronze drums of the Southern Sea that states: ‘In the Jiajing era (1522–1566), the rebel pirate Zeng Yiben (fl. sixteenth century) once plotted to take the bronze drum away, but the iron chain he was using suddenly snapped and it could not be lifted.’ 嘉靖間,海寇曾一本曾謀移之,鐵索忽斷不可舉.168 In addition, there is a song of the bronze drum of the Temple God (Banfangzhai biannian shi 半舫齋編年詩).169 Wu Cihe (吳慈鶴, 1778–1826) of Suzhou (called here Dongwu 東吳) also composed a song for the Ma Fubo bronze drum of the Temple of the God of the Southern Sea, a passage of which reads: ‘In the Zhurong shrine is the Fubo drum; as if cast on campaign against the barbarians of Jiuzhen, its mat finish a blood-bespeckled embroidery of mossy flowers bedewed; in the midst of this, a scattered pattern of a hundred minute stars is spread. The pair of medallions possesses the voice of armoured soldiery; half-dead toads spew out yellow fume.’170 祝融祠中伏波鼓,猶是征蠻九真鑄。血班繡澀蘚花露,落落中邊百星布。雙枚俱有甲兵聲,半死蝦蟆吐黃霧. Truly a purple patch of sumptuously beautiful literary artifice, it is just that this drum has absolutely nothing to do with Fubo. The custom of lifting the bronze drum into the prison to dispel pestilence continued in this manner until the end of the Qing dynasty.

In the Chinese Library of Singapore University, I once carried out an investigative reading of Lat Pao (‘Le bao’, 叻報; a Chinese language newspaper) and found that on the eleventh day of the sixth month of the wuzi 戊子 year of the Guangxu era (1888), an article headlined ‘Bronze Drum dispels Pestilence’ (‘Tonggu zhuyi’ 銅鼓逐疫) gives: ‘The thirteenth day of the second month is the anniversary of the birth of the God, Zhurong, and annually at this time the God is paraded in public; the Yue people strike the drum in order to please the God; its sound is “cheng-yao” and “tang-ta”, and its colour striped, speckled, and a confusion of complexity. Yang (untraceable, fl. late Qing dynasty), the magistrate of Panyu, issued a command to request the drum from the God, and it was lifted into the prison. It is struck to disperse malevolent miasmas and dispel pestilence.’ 二月十三日爲祝融生日,歲時報賽,粵人擊之以樂神。聲噌吆以鞺鞳,色斑駁而陸離。番禺楊大令飭差請鼓於神,舁至獄中,擊以驅邪辟疫.171 Note: This article plagiarizes Qu Dajun’s Guangdong xinyu. Thus, this additional usage of the bronze drum can be seen in Qing dynasty poems and songs as well as news reports.

4.2 The Bronze Drums of Lianzhou 廉州 and Huazhou 化州 in Guangdong

The drums are hung in the Hall of the God. Shi Qian (史遷, fl. late fourteenth–early fifteenth centuries) of the early Ming dynasty’s Qingjin ji 青金集 contains ‘Song of the Bronze Drum’ (‘Tonggu ge’ 銅鼓歌) that includes the following lines: ‘Its upper circular mirror face has not yet been wiped; hanging down, the bronze connects completely with its empty centre. Taller than two chi feet, in breadth as much as twice that; iron chains bound together as its city wall.’ 上圓鏡面未應拭,下垂銅徹連中空。高餘二尺闊複倍,鐵索互紐當垣墉.172 The introduction reads: ‘South-east of the Confucian temple in Lianzhou, at the Hall of the Earth Lord in Zitong hangs a bronze drum, its inscription and patterning both peculiarly individual…. Also, on the Ridge of the Divided Grasses two or more hundred li south of the bronze pillar in Dangzhou.’ 於廉州孔廟東南梓潼帝君殿懸銅鼓,款識花紋特異。……又銅柱當州南二百餘里分茅 嶺上.173 Shi Qian’s soubriquet was Liangchen 良臣 (meaning: ‘virtuous official’) and as a hermit of the late Yuan dynasty, he sang in harmonious poetic answer to the generation of Yang Weizhen (楊維楨, 1296–1370); in the first years of the Hongwu era (洪武, 1368–1398), serving as an official in Lianzhou in the early period of the Ming dynasty, this was the bronze drum that he saw, hanging from iron chains.

He Jisheng in his ‘Table of the Regional Dispersal of Ancient Bronze Drums’ (‘Gudai tonggu fenbu diyu biao’ 古代銅鼓分布地域表) lists that in the Lian River 廉江 county of Guangdong, a total of six bronze drums were excavated and all were of the Qing dynasty, so this might supplement the lacunae. Peng Chuanzu (彭傳祖, untraceable) in Huazhou zhi 化州志, juan 4, also includes a bronze drum song: ‘The bearded Su has such a sincere disposition (Note: This refers to the prefectural educational official Su Tingrui [ 蘇庭瑞, untraceable]) … and he narrates that this drum was excavated in uncultivated lands around Shiwan village…. the toads look with angry eyes; the four corners are split. When weighed it comes to sixty jin and in circumference is seven chi. 髯蘇意氣何拳拳(注謂州監生蘇廷瑞)…… 爲言此鼓出石灣村外野…… 蟾蜍怒目四隅列,斤權六十圍七尺.174 In the Huazhou zhi, ‘Jin shi lüe’ 金石略 gives: ‘In the bingxu year of the Guangxu era (1886), the people of Shiwan obtained a bronze drum from a derelict pool, whose circumference at its widest point was more than two chi feet, and it was one chi, five cun tall.’ 光緒丙戌,石灣人於墟塘得銅鼓,大徑二尺許,高一尺有五.175

4.3 Concerning Literary Compositions ‘Song of the Bronze Drum’ (‘Tonggu ge’ 銅鼓歌) of Yazhou 雅州 and Longzhou 龍州

‘Song of the Bronze Drum’ by Cao Yin (曹寅, 1658–1712): ‘The Yazhou bronze drum: on the birds’ feathers is verdigris; four knob-like toad protuberances, carved venomous snake shapes; how can one countenance allowing it to be suspended to let water drip off it and to be defiled by being arrogantly struck; some even suppose it was a cooking pot to serve a packed hall of barbarians. It is also said that the Chief Minister Zhuge Liang in his “Crossing the (Jinsha 金沙) River at Luzhou 瀘州” campaign in the South had it cast as a commemorative model of his military dispositions. The remnant tracks of the virtuous of yesteryear cannot be traced, their linguistic frailties and peculiarities mostly unorthodox….’ 雅州銅鼓鳥羽青,四蟾蜍紐鏤虺形,豈堪懸注肆考擊,或疑烹飪充蠻廷。又云丞相渡瀘時,鑄以張軍留模型。前賢遺迹不可測,語患怪誕多離經.176 His own notes: ‘The drumhead is like a scientific instrument, with four knob-like protuberances standing upright, and I think it was for measuring and quantifying the ways of water and soil.’ 鼓面若儀器,四紐峙立,疑可測驗水土.177 Viewing the four knob-like protuberances as used for measuring and quantifying the ways of water and soil is an entirely absurd observation; ‘on the birds’ feathers is verdigris’ indicates patterns of flying birds amid the auras. Drums of various sizes of Selangor in Malaysia whose patterning is of this type have been mentioned above. The border regions of Sichuan have always been plentiful producers of bronze drums, and many employ the phrase ‘bronze drum’ in placenames themselves;178 only the bronze drums of Yazhou are not seen in the various ‘accounts’ of regions.

Li Weiyin (李維寅, 1747–1797) of Daxing also composed a ‘Song of the Bronze Drum (of Longzhou)’ (‘[Longzhou] Tonggu ge’ (龍州)銅鼓歌) that gives: ‘I, an official, obtained a bronze drum in Xuanhua, … An empty sounding chamber, below the playing surface, it tapers slightly at the waist; in diameter, two or more chi feet, in height about one chi. Absolutely flat, like a mirror’s surface, on it are protrusions like musk deers’ umbilicuses; twelve toads, of which only five or six remain. Above, a pattern of clouds; below, thunder swirling. Sculpted dragons, serpents, interspersed with patterns of axes.’ 我官宣化獲銅鼓,……虛中頑下微束腰,徑二尺强高尺許。規平鏡面突麝臍,十二蟾蜍餘六五。……上文雲云下雷回,彫刻龍蛇雜亞斧.179 This describes the form and manufacture of bronze drums as being extremely fine. Also given is: ‘I have heard that the Miao people guard heavy instruments; the Ge people those decorated with birds, the Tong people those decorated with flowers; tribal chieftains supervise. Weddings, funerals, and conferences of alliances when offerings of wine and sheep are laid out; in front of the halls, beat and break the golden velvet orchids (drumsticks). To mistake tradition-transmitted sacrificial instruments for weaponry, is this not rendering vulgar the nomenclature of the dynastic annals. (Ma) Fubo is called “great” and Zhuge Liang “small”; in differentiating emptiness, what difference is there then from Zhou dynasty blind musicians. Fubo transmitted the Ma family style into Luoyue, yet it has not been heard that casting a drum corresponds to a bronze pillar. Zhuge Liang marched his army but did not reach Yue ; his ruined drums he preferred to discard at Yufupu. On gossamer threads, the written records, their words without foundation; let the divine alligator roar until hoarse and no words follow.’180 我聞苗民守重器,犵鳥獞花都老主。婚喪盟會置酒羊,庭前敲折金釵股。流傳禮器譌兵器,紀代標名無乃魯。大曰伏波小諸葛,鑿空何異周庭瞽。伏波馬式傳駱越,不聞鑄鼓配銅柱。諸葛行軍未到粵,敗鼓寧遺魚腹浦。紛紛記載辭無根,靈鼉一吼喑不語.181 This passage makes a step-by-step correction to the hoary old narratives and is entirely apposite.

4.4 Regarding ‘Song of the Bronze Drum’ of Bozhou 播州

Zhang Zhidong’s (張之洞, 1837–1909) ‘Song of the Bronze Drum’ (‘Tonggu ge’ 銅鼓歌) gives: ‘In the fourth year of the Xianfeng era (1854), Guizhou erupted in disorder, and the first disaster that Bozhou suffered implicated the Miao people … who took children, both boys and girls, as prisoners and then freed them and did not slay them, giving them arable land and setting them to work in the fields, ploughing and hoeing. Not one goblet of clear wine was drunk, and alone and unaided they discovered an object more deeply voiced than a dingning (dingzheng) tubular bell and shorter than a gao bass drum. The surrendered non-Han Yi ethnicity kowtowed and told their story: that it came from the time when Han Minister (Zhuge Liang) had pacified the Tong and Yao ethnicities. Alas! The Han Minister, trusting his magical military prowess, sent an official memorandum that he would campaign against the pillaging barbarians by first attacking and occupying barren land … Casting bronze into a drum to bestow on the chieftains, he delved into the earth to protect his treasure and buried it in a mountain col. Every year, only when making offerings to the ghosts would anyone dare to strike it, to the sound of reed mouth organs, shamans singing, a disorderly “ao-zao”; unlike when engaged in battle and strife, united with the massed soldiery; flowery locks, bare feet, vying to make gestures of salutation to one another. A drum that is worth a hundred cows; to possess one of these is to be rich, to possess ten, a wealthy chieftain. The drum is dead, the Miao are exterminated so the old records tell; with might recompense mistreatment, giving them nowhere whither to flee. 咸豐四年黔始亂,播州首禍連群苗…… 俘其子女赦不殺,授之畬田使耕薅。清酒一鍾亦不飲,獨取一物深於丁寧短於鼛。降夷稽首述故事,傳自漢相安獞猺。嗚呼漢相信神武,拜表討賊先不毛。……範銅爲鼓賜酋長,坎地寶護埋山坳。歲時祀鬼乃敢擊,蘆笙巫唱紛嗷嘈;不然戰鬥合徒衆,花鬘赤脚奔相招。一面足可直百牸,擅一爲富擅十爲酋豪。鼓亡苗滅古記語,以威報虐將焉逃.182

… its circumference four chi and eight cun still more; not yet reaching the four ears and already the waist narrows. Ribboned patterns of curled and pouncing beasts, red egrets soaring aloft. Fine nipple-nodules, some 302 in all, corresponding to each other around the circumference. (Reading the inscription) As if its seal script cannot be differentiated, many times resorting to drawing the character on one’s belly, but still finally stumped by its inarticulateness. Earthy flowers, dark red and green, suffuse into the sinewed design; thunder patterns wind and curl, surrounding the radiant star Gao Yao (an ancient mythological ruler). The centre is lustrously smooth and causes not the hand to linger; but is perfect for receiving the urgent strikes of a two-chi-long drumstick. On a fine morning, meeting the guest (god), the wind (melody) and sun are beautiful; flat as a surface of water, beaten and struck, its sound the pulao monster’s roar. Like observing the leaping bright moon in a mountain-gorge stream; the sacrificed bull, the sipped wine, joyfully inviting one another. Suddenly, the barbarian wind stirs up pestilential rain, and in the midst, the iron horse neighs “xiao-xiao”. Strike once, strike again, rotating to perform the composition “Jichu”; on the battlefield, searching for ghosts of fallen warriors, “ti-hao” they howl. Do not press for war, instead pass around the wine; let the bronze dragon in sorrow and anger release a long growl….’ ……圍徑四尺修八寸,四耳無當約其腰。文螭蟠拏朱鷺翥,細乳三百有二相周遭。髣髴篆文不可辨,屢煩畫肚終牙𤘒。土花紺碧沁肌理,靁紋宛轉環皋陶。中心瑩滑不留手,恰受二尺棲推敲。良辰會客風日美,水面考擊鳴蒲牢。如觀溪峒跳明月,宰牛呷酒歡相邀。忽然蠻風捲瘴雨,中有鐵馬聲蕭蕭。一擊再擊轉激楚,戰場萬鬼皆啼嗥。不用趣戰用行酒,銅龍悲憤發長號.183

With rhymed words narrating the origins and functions of the bronze drum, this passage is indeed detailed and comprehensive. Feng Dengfu (馮登府, 1783–1841) ‘Tonggu ge wei Ma Xiaomei fu’ 銅鼓歌爲馬小眉賦 (Ma Xiaomei, fl. late eighteenth–early nineteenth centuries) gives: ‘A drum worth a thousand head of cattle, a thousand eight hundred battling for supreme masculinity; the Pahang pig belly is full of air; staring aggressively with fish-eyes brightly shining.’ 此鼓一面千牛直,千八百口爭豪雄,彭亨豕腹氣煜煜,瞪突魚目光 熊熊.184 (Baizhu shikan shicun 拜竹詩龕詩存; Feng Dengfu’s poetry anthology) Li Zonghan (李宗瀚, 1770–1832) ([soubriquet] Chunhu 春湖) ‘Song of the Bronze Drum’ (‘Tonggu ge’ 銅鼓歌): ‘Unearthed by the aborigines and shown off as a dazzlingly strange item; washed and scraped of mossy speckles to boost its market value. Its face smooth like a mirror and tapered waist like a basket; like a ding vessel, it has ears through which something can be passed to lift it. Its circumference endures carvings and inscriptions of shape unusual; square mats, circular coinage, as if measured out precisely.’ 土人掘得炫奇貨,湔剔蘚班高市估,面平若鏡腰若籃,若鼎有耳貫堪舉。周遭鏤刻形狀殊,方簟圓錢儼規矩.185

The Official History of the Song Dynasty (Song shi), (found in) juan 496, ‘Xinan zhuyi’ 西南諸夷: ‘In the seventh year of the Dazhong xiangfu era (1014), the army commanders of the non-Han Yi races as a token of submission paid tribute of cattle and sheep, bronze drums, and mechanical implements.’ 大中祥符七年,夷人諸軍首服納牛羊、銅鼓器械,186 The non-Han Yi races of the south-west have historically presented bronze drums as tax. Torii Ryūzō (鳥居龍藏, 1870–1953) Report on Investigation of the Miao People (Miaozu diaocha baogao 苗族調查報告) records the performance practice of the Miao ethnicity of Guizhou of using bronze drums, which precisely supports the evidence of this poem.187 The Miao ethnicity are fond of playing the reed mouth organ and bronze drums and dancing as a form of entertainment, so when the poem gives: ‘To the sound of reed mouth organs, shamans singing,’ and ‘like observing the leaping bright moon in a mountain-gorge stream,’ these are real-time descriptions of witnessed experience. ‘Red egrets soaring aloft’ describes a pattern of flying birds; ‘Fine nipple-nodules, some 302 in all,’ probably indicates Master Heger’s fourth type of drum on which inside the auras are to be found patterns of small and fine round protruding nodules; thus, here the number of nipple-nodules is as many as this.

As far as ‘a drum that is worth a hundred cows’ is concerned, Tian Rucheng (田汝成, 1503–1557) in Xing bian ji wen 行邊紀聞 gives: ‘Some from among the aborigines dug into the earth and obtained a drum, and perpetuated the myth that it had originally been buried by Zhu Wu Hou (Zhuge Liang), and wealthy families competed to buy it and did not regret a price of a hundred cattle as being too much;’ 土人或掘地得鼓,即譸張言諸葛武侯所藏者,富家爭購,即百牛不惜也;188 this can be regarded as corroborating evidence. On the Xikang-Tibetan plateau, this price for a bronze drum is particularly high. In the Qing dynasty, the fifty-sixth year of the reign of the emperor Qianlong, during the upsurge in Gurkha military activity at the time, Zhou Ailian (周藹聯, fl. eighteenth century), then stationed in Dartsedo 打節爐,189 wrote a book Zhuguo jiyou 竺國紀遊 that includes: ‘In the environs of Dartsedo, the local people accord great importance to the “Zhuge (Liang) drum”. The surfaces of the bodies of drums are variously eroded, and if their sound is resonantly “guan-guan”, they have a barter value of a thousand head of cattle.’ 打箭爐一帶番人重諸葛鼓,凡鼓體剝蝕,其聲者,可易牛千頭.190 Compared with the price in Guizhou, this is much higher and even more astonishing. Zhang Zhidong’s poem gives: ‘Strike once, strike again, rotating to perform the composition “Jichu” 激楚; on the battlefield, searching for ghosts of fallen warriors, “ti-hao” they howl.’ Here, the bronze drum is moved to the battlefront. Viewing the cliff-face murals incised by the Tong ethnicity in seven locations in the Liang’an 兩岸 district of the Ming tributary 明江 of the Zuo river 左江 in Guangxi, they show fighting with bare hands and riding horses, and weaponry includes bronze drums, knives, swords, and arrows and arrowheads. These are instances of bronze drums represented on cliff walls as tools of war191 and harmonises precisely with the meaning narrated by this poem.

The descriptions of bronze drums in the above poems and songs can serve a precise function as historical evidence. Such items as are listed in Xie Qikun’s Yuexi jinshi zhi 粵西金石志, ‘Investigation of Bronze Drums’ (‘Tonggu kao’ 銅鼓考) are extremely few and poorly represented.192 The material touched on above is put forward tentatively for consideration in the hope that others will undertake broader investigation and redress the inadequacy of these regional accounts as well as providing reliable written sources for those who come after to write the history of bronze drums.

5 Preliminary Conclusion

Recent advancements in study of the physical attributes of ancient artifacts have superseded those of previous times and are particularly adept at analysing research materials concerning them and their various forms. As far as mentions of artifacts in the historical record are concerned, the most common category is those that seem plausible and are not and await investigation to argue their veracity.193 The former is the narrative study of artifacts; the latter the historical study of artifacts, and the two are entirely suited to assist one another, like the mutual dependence of horses in a chariot team. The present author is not someone who researches simply into ancient artifacts, and as far as material pertinent to the chunyu and bronze drum is concerned is only knowledgeable to a limited extent; because of new theories proposed by Xu Zhongshu and ideas reached by connecting with them, some understanding and order has nonetheless been attained, and thus the superficial notion of ‘export drums’ is suggested here, which can be borrowed to furnish scholars of historical aesthetics with material for discussion.

As bronze drums are treasured items, although they are heavy and cumbersome, they are still moved to different places from time to time and taken from one location to another. Wuchuan xian zhi 吳川縣志 in Guangdong, juan 4, ‘Jinshi’ 金石 includes the following record: ‘The bronze drum in the Kang Wang temple (named after Kang Baoyi 康保裔, d. 1000) was brought back there from Guizhou in the Guangxu era by the native of Wuchuan, the zongbing Commander of the town of Weining, Zeng Minxing (d. 1892).’ 康王廟銅鼓乃光緒間邑人威寧鎮總兵曾敏行自貴州攜歸.194 Regarding Sichuan, Jiangjin xian zhi 江津縣志, juan 15, ‘Jinshi’ has records of two bronze drums moved there from Guizhou.195 Bronze drums from Guizhou could be brought into Sichuan and into Guangdong. Of the bronze drums currently held in Taiwan, examples have been bought from nearby Guangdong (a drum in the collection of the Provincial Museum) as well as moved from distant Bao mountain in Yunnan (the huge drum in the Historical Museum). Drum B of Master Lin of Singapore was brought from Guangxi. Bronze drums are seen as antiques, and from time to time, ownership passes through dealers to customers. As far as excavated drums are concerned, they too should be viewed in this light and not peremptorily regarded as originally cast in the place where they were found.

Of the drums of Heger’s fourth type, those excavated in Guangxi and Guizhou exhibit the most widespread use of patterns of flags and banners. Huang Zengqing states: ‘Taking as evidence the bronze drum excavated from the tomb of the Southern Song dynasty in Zunyi county in Guizhou that is decorated mostly by patterns of flags and banners, the Song dynasty was when manufacture of this type of drum was at its zenith.’ 根據貴州遵義縣南宋墓出土以旗斿紋爲主之銅鼓,宋代是它的盛行時期.196 Therefore, the earliest limit for production of this type of drum can be pushed back to the Song dynasty. Type four drums of this sort that bear patterns of flags and banners, given that they are small and easily transported, are found in the greatest quantity, so I regard them as the template for the export drum. As far as drum B of Master Lin of Singapore is concerned, were it not for the confirmatory records of the family, if it had been discovered several years later buried underground, it would naturally and easily have been mistaken for a surviving relic of Dong mountain culture. Therefore, bronze drums excavated in South-East Asia, owing to the abundance of bronze artifacts that have appeared recently in China, should be accorded detailed comparison with specimens from Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan, and Guangdong to establish whether they are export drums, and this small matter should not be overlooked. Master Matsumoto’s monograph that discusses bronze drums places special emphasis on identifying and discussing the first type of drums in Heger’s classification system, so the present author has paid particular attention to Master Heger’s fourth type and hopes that those who share a similar interest will take this research further.

Figure 7.f
Figure 7.f

A rubbing of a bronze mirror decorated with flag and banner patterns (Gui Fu regards it as having a provenance of the state of Nan Zhao)

Photo Authorized by Shin Wen Feng Print Company
Figure 7.g
Figure 7.g

A bronze drum from Indonesia

Photo Authorized by Shin Wen Feng Print Company
Figure 7.h
Figure 7.h

Railing designs in patterns on a bronze drum from Thailand

Photo Authorized by Shin Wen Feng Print Company

Written in the eighth month of the guichou 癸丑 year (1973) in Singapore. Revised in 1979.

Appendix: Recently Published Articles on Bronze Drums (up until 1978)


Zhouli zhushu, 12.371–75.


Zhouli zhushu, 12.374.


Zhouli zhushu, 12.374.


Guoyu jijie, 11.379.


Guoyu jijie, 11.379.


Wu Qian (吳騫, 1733–1813) indicates that in popular editions, after the character for ‘drum’ (‘gu’), a character ‘(military) horn’ (‘jiao’) has been omitted, but the Song dynasty edition of the Mingdao 明道era (1032–1033) includes it.


Guoyu jijie, 11.379.


Song shu, 19.554.


The Official History of the Southern Dynasties (Nan shi 南史), juan 45 (43; in ‘Biography of [Xiao] Jian, the short-lived Ruler of Shixing’ [‘Shixing Jianwang (Xiao) Jian zhuan’ 始興簡王(蕭)鑑傳]), has identical wording, only it uses the character instead of for the first character of ‘chunyu’ (both characters share the same pronunciation in modern Chinese). Nan shi, 43.1087. This is the most detailed description of the chunyu and has been quoted on many occasions since the Song dynasty. Discussing Writing (and Explaining Characters; Shuowen jiezi 說文解字; by Xu Shen 許慎, 58–147), juan 14 Part One, for the character (‘bo’): ‘The character represents a large bell belonging to the category chunyu, so its sound matches those of bells and chimes.’ 大鐘淳于之屬,所以應鐘磬. Here the characters used are again 淳于, the same as is the case in The Official History of the Southern Dynasties. Shuowen jiezi, 14A.8a (297).


Nan Qi shu, 35.629.


Zhou shu, 26.432.


Tongdian, 144.3673.


The character here ‘’ (‘shi’, meaning ‘history’) should be written as ‘’ (‘shu’, meaning ‘book’. There are two records of Song dynasties: for the earlier one, 420–479, the relevant text is The Official Book of the Song Dynasty [Song shu]; the equivalent for the later one, 960–1279, is The Official History of the Song Dynasty [Song shi].)


Taiping yulan, 575.8a (2598).


Dongguan yulun, juan one (of two). Huang Bosi, ‘Han jinchun shuo’, A.64a (187).


Zhao Yanwei, Yunlu manchao, 2.33.


See: Yugu wencun, juan 9. Wu Qian, ‘Zhou huchun shuo’, 9.12 (1454: 269).


Taiping yulan, 575.8a (2598).


Hong Mai, Rongzhai xubi, 11.345–46.


Jianzhuang zhuiwen, juan 4. Chen Zhan, ‘Jinchun kao’, 4.2a–3b.


Rong Geng, Zhang Weichi, Yinzhou qingtongqi tonglun, chapter 5, no. 49, the chunyu category, 77.


Gujin tushu jicheng, vol. 738, ‘Chun bu’ 錞部, 98.30b–33b.


Nan Qi shu, 18.362–63.


Wenyuan yinghua, 71.3a (320).


Shuowen jiezi yizheng, 45.32b–33a (1242).


Sui shu, 15.358.


Dong You, Guangchuan shuba, 3.52–53.


Zhouli zhushu, 40.1291.


Zhouli zhushu, 40.1291.


Jingnan cuigu bian, 7529–30.


Mengpo shi huogu congbian. Zou Shouqi, Zhou Qingyun eds., ‘Song hu chun’, 26a.


Fang Yizhi, Tongya 通雅, 30.15b–16a (365–66).


Shanhai jing jianshu, 5.188.


Shanhai jing jianshu, 5.188.


Shanhai jing jianshu, 5.188.


Gu Yewang, Daguang yihui Yupian, 2.31.


Shanhai jing jianshu, 3.102.


Zhang Zilie, Zheng zi tong, 11.26a (1203).


Wang Fu, Chongxiu Xuanhe bogutu, 26.10b (840: 924).


See Mengpo shi huogu congbian. On this chun is an incised note that reads: ‘If you strike here, a sound will be produced that is like that of bells.’ 叩之則鳴,(如)鐘類耳. For an instrument itself to be furnished with explanatory text of this nature is extremely rare. Zou Shouqi, Zhou Qingyun eds., ‘Song hu chun’, 26a.


Hong Mai, Rongzhai xubi, 11.346.


Wang Fu cites as proof ‘Biography of (Xiao Jian) the (short-lived) Ruler of Shixing’ in which the chunyu that Duan Zuo (段祚; probably to be identified with Duan Zu 段祖) presented had on it a bronze horse. Wang Fu, Chongxiu Xuanhe bogutu, 26.10a (840: 924).


Kaogu tu: Wai er zhong, 7.1a (387).


Xiqing gujian, 37.4a–6b (842: 292–93).


Qiugu jingshe jinshitu, 26a–26b.


Chi’an 癡盦 means ‘Infatuated with Ancient Bronze Vessels’ or ‘Thatched Cottage of Infatuation’.


Li Taifen, Chi’an cangjin, pl. 7.


Lu Zengxiang, Baqiongshi jinshi zhaji si juan, 2.25b (11: 707).


Lu Zengxiang, Baqiongshi jinshi zhaji si juan, 2.25b (11: 707).


Wu Yun, ‘Han chun’, 9.15b–16a (440–41).


Wu Yun, ‘Han tonggu (1)’, 9.13a (435).

‘Yuzao’ 魚藻 is poem 221 in The Book of Songs (Shijing 詩經) and found in the ‘Lesser Ya’ (‘Xiaoya’ 小雅) section.


Wu Yun, Erbai lanting zhai shoucang jinshiji, 4.1a.


Lu Zengxiang, Baqiongshi jinshi zhaji, 2.26a (11: 707).


Lu Zengxiang, Baqiongshi jinshi zhaji, 2.26b (11: 707).


Liu Tizhi, Xiao jiaojing ge jinwen taben, 1.101a–102a (1:211–13).


Lu Zengxiang, Baqiongshi jinshi zhaji, 2.26a (11: 707).


Zou An, Zhou jinwen cun buyi, 23: 246.


Xu Shen, Shuowen jiezi, 14A.8a (297).


Xiong Chuanxin, ‘Hu’nan chutu de gudai chunyu zongshu’, 36–42. Xiong Chuanxin, ‘Woguo gudai chunyu gailun’, 80–89.


Lu Zengxiang, Baqiongshi jinshi zhaji, 2.26a (11: 707).


Journal of Sichuan University. Xu Zhongshu, ‘Bashu wenhua chulun’, 21–44.


Hong Mai, Rongzhai xubi, 11.345–46.


Shuowen jiezi yizheng, 45.32b–33a (1242).


Wenwu. Hu Yueqian, ‘Anhui sheng Su xian chutu liangjian tong yueqi’, 31, Illustration 3.


Archaeology. Jiangxi sheng wenwu guanli weiyuanhui, ‘Jiangxi Xiushui chutu Zhanguo qingtong yueqi he Handai tieqi’, 265.


See: Pictorial Explanation of Bronzes in the Shaanxi Provincial Museum. Shaanxi sheng bowuguan, Shaanxi sheng wenwu guanli weiyuan hui, Qingtongqi tushi, 124, pl. 129.


Xu Zhongshu, ‘Sichuan fuling xiaotianxi chutu hu’niu chunyu’, 81–83.


Guoyu jijie, 19.550.


Huainanzi jishi, 15.1056.


Guo Baojun (郭寶鈞, 1873–1971), Shanbiao zhen yu liuli ge, 23.


See Master Feng’s ‘Research into Bronze Instruments excavated at Shizhai Mountain, Jinning’, and the second of the seven accompanying illustrated appendices. Archaeology, 1963. Feng Hanji, ‘Yunnan Jinning Shizhai shan chutu tongqi yanjiu: Ruogan zhuyao renwu huodong tuxiang shishi’, 325.


Quoted in (modern scholar) Wang Ningsheng’s 王寧生 writings. ‘Shilun Zhongguo gudai tonggu’, 188.


Wu Qian, ‘Jinchun chunyu bian’, 7.1a (1454: 244).


Internal Biographies is another name for The Zuo Commentary (Zuozhuan 左傳; traditionally attributed to Zuo Qiuming, fl. late Spring and Autumn period); External Biographies is another name for Discourses of the States.


Zhu Yizun, ‘Nanhaimiao er tonggu tuba’, 46.8a–9a (1318: 173–174).


Wu Yun in his Lianglei xuan yiqi tushi cites Zhu Zhucha’s ‘Investigation of the Bronze Drum’ (‘Tonggu kao’). Note: Pu shu ting ji, juan 56–58, comprise ‘investigations’ and none of these is about the bronze drum, so the reference must be to (the passage cited below) ‘Nanhai (miao) er tonggu ba’. Wu Yun, ‘Han tonggu 1’, 9.13a (435). Zhu Yizun, ‘Nanhaimiao er tonggu tuba’, 46.7a–9a (1318: 173–174).


Investigative Thesis on Chinese Archaeology, ‘New Material on Grave Goods.’ Umehara Sueji, ‘Shina ko meiki no isshin shiryō’, pl. 87.


Rong Geng, Shangzhou yiqi tongkao, 513, pls. 978, 979.


For details on the Chongyang bronze drum, see The People’s Pictorial (Renmin huabao 人民畫報), September 1978; also, Wenwu. E Bo, Chong Wen, ‘Hubei Chongyang chutu yi jian tonggu’, 94.


Zhouli zhushu, 40.1304.


Xu Shen, Shuowen jiezi, 5A.15b (102).


Maoshi zhengyi, 16.1225–26.


Maoshi zhengyi, 16.1225–26.


Hou Han shu, 24.840.

Zeng Zhao (曾釗, 1793–1854) of the Qing dynasty recounts: ‘In Dongguan Hanji (compiled in the Eastern Han dynasty) is written (in juan 12) that Ma Yuan sent a memorandum to the emperor that he had obtained bronze in the Luoyue region and had it cast into a statue of a horse. Fan Ye’s (范曄, 398–445) book (Fan Ye was the principal writer of The Official Book of the Later Han Dynasty [Hou Han shu], so the reference is to this text) states that Ma Yuan obtained a bronze drum, which is either an error at the time of writing or a later mistake when cutting the printing blocks. My suspicion is that the character “drum” (“gu”) should elide with that for “cast” (“zhu”) to form a two-character verb collocation, in which case the whole reads: “(Ma Yuan obtained bronze in the Luoye region and had it) cast into the form of a horse.”’ 《東觀漢記》載援奏以所得駱越銅,鑄以爲馬。范書云得銅鼓,或當時之誤,或後刻之譌。鼓字疑連鑄字讀,謂乃鼓鑄爲馬式. Reading the character for ‘drum’ of ‘bronze drum’ 銅鼓 (‘tonggu’) as a verb fundamentally contradicts the wording of the original text, and to do this is also at variance with Records of Linyi (Linyi ji 林邑記; now lost, quoted in sixth century texts). Zeng Zhao, ‘Guangzhou zongdu junmen tonggu ji’, 3.29a–29b (1521: 550).


Shuijing 水經 itself is by Sang Qin 桑欽 (fl. Eastern Han dynasty).


Shuijing zhushu, 36.3000–1.


This quotation is not in fact from the passage ‘Notes on the Yi River’ but pertains to the preceding river in the text.


Shuijing zhushu, 37.3050.


Qu Dajun, Guangdong xinyu, 437.


Zheng He hanghai tu, 40, 44.


Yunnan sheng wenwu gongzuodui, ‘Yunnan Xiangyun Dabona muguo tongguan mu qingli baogao’, 611, 614.


Wenwu. Feng Hanji, ‘Yunnan Jinning chutu tonggu yanjiu’, 58.


Wei shu, 101.2249.


Yunnan sheng bowuguan, Yunan Jinning Shizhaishan gumu qun fajue baogao, 79.


For an image of this artifact see: Kaogu xuebao. Guangxi sheng wenwu guanli weiyuanhui, ‘Guangxi Guixian Hanmu de qingli’, 159.


Taozhai jijin lu 陶齋吉金錄 (compiled by Duan Fang 端方, 1861–1911), juan 7, has notes on a bronze drum whose inscription reads: ‘In the sixth year of the Jianwu era (30 CE); made by (Ma) Fupo’, 建武六年伏波造, but these characters are a forgery. Taozhai jijin lu, 7.1a–1b.


Bronze drums were not made by Ma Fupo, as has already been successfully argued by Zeng Zhao. See his: Miancheng lou jichao, juan 3, ‘Guangzhou zongdu junmen tonggu ji’. Zeng Zhao, ‘Guangzhou zongdu junmen tonggu ji’, 3.29a–29b (1521: 550).


Taiping yulan, 582.4b (2624).


Fang Xinru, Nanhai baiyong, 3123: 21.


Lu Zengxiang, Baqiongshi jinshi zhaji, 2.26b (11: 707).


Zheng Shixu’s Tonggu kaolüe has already cited this entry.


Daoguang Qiongzhou fu zhi, 43.46a.


Luo Zhenyu, Jinni shixie, 13: 5321.


Wang Jun, Shi’er yan zhai jinshi guoyan lu, 3.10b (13: 335).


Xu Shujun, Baoya zhai tiba, 391.


Luo Shilin, Jin yixi tonggu kao, 1111: 103–109.


Tang liu dian, 16.460.


Taiping yulan, 582.6b (2625).


Qu Dajun, Guangdong xinyu, 銅鼓 no. 465, 438.


Liu Xun, Lingbiao luyi, A.4.


Zhu Yizun, ‘Nanhaimiao er tonggu tuba’, 46.7a–7b (1318:173).


Most sources of The Old Official Book of the Tang Dynasty give the guisi 癸巳 (thirtieth) day instead.


The Old Official Book of the Tang Dynasty (Jiu Tang shu 舊唐書), ‘Annals of the Emperor Xianzong’ (‘Xianzong ji’ 憲宗記; juan 15). Jiu Tang shu, ‘Xianzong’, 14.430.


Wang Dang, Tang yulin jiaozheng, 1.46.


Jiu Tang shu, 159.4180.


Fang Xinru, Nanhai baiyong, 3123: 21.


Fang Xinru, Nanhai baiyong, 3123: 21.


The copy available nowadays of Lingbiao luyi is in fact a composite version made in the fortieth year of the emperor Qianlong’s (乾隆, 1711–1799, r. 1736–1796) reign by officials of the Four Repositories (Siku 四庫) based on extracts from the Great Encyclopedia of the Yongle Era (Yongle dadian 永樂大典; Yongle era: 1403–1424). Master Fang’s Nanhai baiyong was not included in the Siku quanshu 四庫全書, and it was not until the Daoguang era (道光, 1821–1851) that a manuscript copy in Jiang Fan’s (江藩, 1761–1831) collection was used for publication. The suspicion is that Zhu Zhucha had not had sight of these. He had himself been to ‘Sheep City’ (羊城 Yangcheng; another name for Guangzhou) and had had the opportunity to view the two drums with his own eyes. Weng Fanggang’s (翁方綱, 1733–1818) long poem in the ancient style about a rubbing of a song inscription on a bronze drum includes the lines: ‘(Aforetimes) on ten occasions, I ascended to the Southern Sea Temple; in its halls, streamers hang at both east and west; the drum at the east is the largest, and that at the west the smallest;’ 十登南海廟,殿庭緪索東西垂。東者最大西次小; this description is entirely congruent with Zhu Zhucha’s remarks. (Weng Fanggang’s poem is usually titled: ‘Tonggu ge ti Qufu Yan shi taben’ 銅鼓歌題曲阜顔氏拓本.) Weng Fanggang, ‘Tonggu ge ti Qufu Yanshi taben’, 82.11b (1: 1248).


Taiping yulan, 785.8b (3478).


Xie Qikun, ‘Tonggu kao’, 15.2a (22: 239).


Guangxi sheng Liucheng xianzhi, no. 127, 3.30.


Chen shu, 9.157.


See also: The Official History of the Southern Dynasties, ‘Biography of Ouyang Wei’ (‘Ouyang Wei zhuan’; included in juan 66) whose wording is broadly similar. Chen shu, 9.157–159. Nan shi, 56.16131–614.


See: ‘Ouyang shi shici bei’ 歐陽氏世次碑, as recorded in Wei Xizeng’s (魏錫曾, 1828–1881) Feijian zhai beilu 非見齋碑錄 of which the Central Library in Taiwan has the original manuscript in its collection.


Xin Tang shu, 110.4114.


Xin Tang shu, 222B.6320.


Taiping guangji, 205.1564.


Archaeology. The actual title is slightly different: Map of Discoveries of Bronze Drums since the Han and Jin Dynasties. Li Jiarui, ‘Han Jin yi lai tonggu faxian diqu tu’, 504, 507.


Article by Du Shan in Archaeology; Du Shan, ‘Yizu bushi shiyong tonggu de minzu’, 425, 428.


Archaeology. He Jisheng, ‘Lüeshu Zhongguo gudai tonggu de fenbu diyu’, 31–39.


Kaogu xuebao. Hong Sheng, ‘Guangxi gudai tonggu yanjiu’, 45–90.


See Wang Ningsheng’s ‘Speculatory Discussion on Ancient Chinese Bronze Drums’ in Kaogu xuebao. Wang Ningsheng, ‘Shilun Zhongguo gudai tonggu’, 159–192.


Zhang Shu, Shiben cuiji buzhu, 1.15.


Sima Qian, Shi ji, 3.100.


Tongdian, 144.3674.


Tongdian, 144.3675.


Consult: Huang Zengqing’s 黃增慶 ‘A Preliminary Exploration of Excavated Bronze Drums of the Western Shang dynasty’ in Archaeology. Huang Zengqing, ‘Guangxi chutu tonggu chutan’, 578–588.


Liu Xun, Lingbiao luyi, A.4.


Li Yanyuan, ‘Guizhou sheng Zunyi xian chutu tonggu’, 54–56.


Li Guangting, Xiangyan jieti, 5.26b–27a (1272:222–23).


Matsumoto Nobuhiro, Kodai Indoshina Inasaku-min Shūkyō shisō no kenkyū.


Shang Chengzuo, Shi’er jia jijin tulu, 18b–22a.


Xiqing xujian jiabian, 18.1a–4b (1108: 279–80).


Xiqing xujian yibian, 18.1a–5b (1109: 112–14).


Wen You, Gu tonggu tulu, pl. 27, no. 17.


Archaeology. Yunnan sheng wenwu gongzuodui, ‘Yunnan Xiangyun Dabona muguo tongguan mu qingli baogao’, 612.


Wen You, Gu tonggu tulu, pl. 40, no. 25.


Huang Zengqing, ‘Guangxi chutu tonggu chutan’, 584.


For a picture of the artifact and Master Gui’s ba postscript, see Wang Hanzhang, ‘Gudong lu’ 古董錄, 3.


For a picture of the artifact and Master Gui’s ba postscript, see Wang Hanzhang, ‘Gudong lu’, 3.


Ming shi, 46.1188.


As given in Li Genyuan (李根源, 1879–1965), Yongchang fu wenzheng, ‘Jizai’ 紀載, Tianqi 天啟, Dianzhi 滇志, guji 古蹟, 7.8a, ‘Ming 5’ 明五.


Li Genyuan, Yongchang fu wenzheng, ‘Jizai’, Tianqi, Dianzhi, guji, 7.8a, ‘Ming 5’.


Li Genyuan, Yongchang fu wenzheng, ‘Jizai’, Tianqi, Dianzhi, guji, 7.8b, ‘Ming 5’.


Huang Zengqing, ‘Guangxi chutu tonggu chutan’, 588.


Franz Heger, Alte Metalltrommeln aus Südost-Asien, fig. 28; also: Dongnan ya gudai jinshu gu, 456.


Daoguang Zunyi fu zhi, 11.4b (715: 437).


Wang Ningsheng, Tonggu yu nanfang minzu, 57.


For these, see Matsumoto Nobuhiro’s A Study of the Religious Thoughts of Ancient Indian and Chinese Rice Farmers and the records included therein; the classification numbers employed in his text are included here for reference and further consideration.


The ruins in front of the temple are remnants of a Portuguese quayside.


Zhang Xie, Dongxiyang kao, 46.


Qiu Xinmin, Dongnanya gudai shidi luncong, 75.


See Li Suiqiu, Lianxu ge ji, 1.9 (183: 29).


See: Liang Peilan, Liuyingtang ji, 3.2–3 (120: 455).


Poetry Anthology of Yi Mountain, juan 8. Zhao Zhixin, Yishan shiji, 8.5 (210: 246).


Li Kai, Jie chao ji, 5.18 (259: 54).


Zhu Gui, Zhizuzhai shiji, 10.23 (376: 454).


Xia Zhirong, ‘Nanhai tonggu kaolüe’, 8.9b (287: 546).


Xia Zhirong, ‘Nanhai shenmiao tonggu ge’, 7.7b–9a (287: 338–39).


Cenhua jushi lanjing lu, juan 1. Wu Cihe, ‘Nanhai shenmiao fubo tonggu ge’, 1.2–3 (524: 4–5).


Qu Dajun, Guangdong xinyu, 16.436.


Shi Qian, ‘Tonggu ge’, 97: 432.


Shi Qian, ‘Tonggu ge’, 97: 432.


Lidai tonggu wenxue wenxian jicheng, 368.


Guangxu Huazhou zhi, 12.40a (410).


Cao Yin, Lianting shichao, 2.19a (201: 369).


Cao Yin, Lianting shichao, 2.19b (201: 369).


See He Jisheng’s text that quotes Sichuan tong zhi 四川通志 (completed in 1733). He Jisheng, ‘Lüeshu Zhongguo gudai tonggu de fenbu diyu’, 37.


Li Weiyin, ‘Tonggu ge’, 96.4a (1: 1467).


Wanqingyi Qing shi hui, juan 56. Li Weiyin, ‘Tonggu ge’, 1467 (96.4).


Li Weiyin, ‘Tonggu ge’, 96.4a–4b (1: 1467).


Zhang Zhidong, ‘Tonggu ge’, 1: 476.


Guangya tang shiji 廣雅堂詩集; see also Jindai shichao. Zhang Zhidong, ‘Tonggu ge’, 1: 476.


Lidai tonggu wenxue wenxian jicheng, 164–65.


Li Zonghan, Jingyushi ou cun gao, A.33b (492: 514).


Song shi, 496.14228.


Torii Ryūzō, Miaozu diaocha baogao, 300–42.


Tian Rucheng, Xing bian ji wen, 91b (23: 592).


Dartsedo 打節爐 is the Chinese transliteration of the Tibetan placename; the more common Chinese name is Kangding 康定.


Zhou Ailian, Xizang jiyou, 2.50.


Huang Zengqing, ‘Guangxi Mingjiang Zuojiang liang’an de gudai yabihua’, 59. Chen Hanliu, ‘Guangxi Ningming Hua shan yabi shang de tongzu shiji’, 3.


Xie Qikun, ‘Tonggu kao’, 15.1a–7b (22: 239–42).


The writings of those of the Qing dynasty, for example, investigations by Wu Qian, Chen Zhan, and Lu Zengxiang of the bronze chun, and the discussions of Zhu Yizun, Xie Qikun, and Zeng Zhao of the bronze drum are all fragmentary expositions.


Guangdong sheng Wuchuan xianzhi, 9.38a–38b (66: 362).


Minguo Jiangjin xianzhi, 15.11b–12a.


Huang Zengqing, ‘Guangxi chutu tonggu chutan’, 588.


Fan Chuo, Manshu jiaozhu, 10.260.

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