Dong Son culture
3rd-2nd century BCE
32.0 (h) x 5.0 (w) x 2.0 (d) cm
Musée Barbier Mueller, Geneva
© Musée Barbier-Mueller Photograph: Studio Ferrazzini Bouchet
Ceremonial daggers created by the Dong Son culture sometimes feature figurative hilts. This handle shows a standing man wearing a necklace and heavy earrings, with hands on hips and the patterned ends of his loincloth falling from his waist. His head too appears to be wrapped in cloth. The ancient weapon reveals the nature of male adornment more than 2000 years ago. It also confirms the longevity of dress styles in animist Southeast Asia where today men still wear loincloths and headcloths for ceremonial events.