Trống đồng Ngọc Lũ - Hồn Trống Việt

Viet Drum Law of Changes (VDC) is a system, consisting of the diagrams, symbols, models, numbers, laws, rules, methods, their relationships and meanings. VDC expresses creatively, accurately, clearly, consistently & fully, both by symbols & the laws the theory “Am Duong Ngu Hanh (ADNH)” or “Yin Yang Five Elements”, one of the most comprehensive, scientific, wise, spiritual & ancient philosophies of mankind.

Fig. 1: Ngoc Lu Bronze Drum

Unlike the Bible, Vedas or I Ching that expressed primarily in words, Viet Drum Law of Changes is the Wordless & unspoken Sutra, perhaps the only one in human history in terms of its comprehensive scope.

VDC is characterized by 3 most outstanding features: originality, comprehensiveness & coherence.

The Originality of the Drum is the most noticeable feature. The Ngoc Lu bronze drum was discovered in 1893 in Ngoc Lu village, Ly Nhan, Ha Nam province of Vietnam. The drum is the most outstanding, beautiful & quintessential representative of Dong Son culture that existed between 900 BC and 200 AD. As the one of the oldest drums, many researchers agree that the age of drums is about 2500 years 1Source: Wikipedia.

Figure 2: Center of the Drum

Recognized as the National Treasure of Vietnam, the drum is currently kept and displayed at the National Museum of History in Hanoi, Vietnam2Source: Vietnam National Museum of History.

Thus, in terms of chronology, the Drum & VDC encoded on it have existed in parallel with “I Ching”, one of the 5 Chinese classics since at least more than 2000 years ago but almost no one knows.

With works that are several thousand years old, originality is very rare. Having the original & it is publicly displayed makes it transparent and easy to look up & compare, which is an extremely important feature of the VDC.

Figure 3: The System of Diagrams of Viet Drum Law of Changes

VDC displays its coherence by the consistent & systematic connections & dependencies between the diagrams, laws, methods, their meanings, and the core philosophy & ideas of the “Am Duong Ngu Hanh” or Yin Yang Five Elements Theory. Coherence is characteristic of a doctrine. When the doctrine’s coherence is expressed in numbers, proportions, shapes, models & laws, the doctrine is a scientific theory, capable of predicting & forecasting. Therefore, “Am Duong Ngu Hanh” Theory is scientific.

Figure 4: Bat Quai Lac Hong & its 64 Hexagrams3To help the readers see the fundamental order & structure of the 64 hexagrams, certain hexagrams are not listed

VDC’s comprehensiveness is shown by the fact that the Drum has full set of the diagrams covering all 3 interactions or parts of Heaven, Earth & Human.

Especially, only in the VDC, there is Land Heaven 8 Trigrams or “Bat Quai Lac Hong” (BQLH), a unified diagram of Land Directions & Heaven Treatise 8 Trigrams or BQLD & BQHT.

Land Heaven 8 Trigrams (BQLH) & its 64 hexagrams provide a way, a living manual & the methods to overcome the human’s inherent limitations, to experience the beyond or spirituality, and finally to merge into the ONE & achieve the Great harmony, often referred to as the Bipolar Unity i.e. harmonizing, balancing and uniting Yin Yang or “Am Duong”, that symbolize all opposite but mutual & complementary.

In other words, in the Drum, VDC & “Am Duong Ngu Hanh” theory, all 3 aspects of Science, Philosophy or Way of Life, and Daoism or Spiritual Science blend together as One.

Viet Drum Law of Changes & I Ching

Figure 5: VDC & I Ching

Compared to the I Ching, VDC is both similar & different. If left alone, VDC’s Hong Thu & Land Directions 8 Trigrams (BQLD) are similar to I Ching’s Ha Do & Early Heaven Eight Trigrams (TTBQ). However, when we incorporate one or more other elements, for example Am Duong, Yin Yang of the Trigrams or the Trigrams’ number, there is no longer any exactly the same diagram.

Not only are the diagrams different, but the quantity of diagrams, laws & methods of the VDC are also different, namely Land Heaven 8 Trigrams, 6 hexagrams of the BQHT, the Yin Yang or Symmetry law, the Five elements or S-Motion Law, the Yin Yang classification method, the way of the expression etc.

Decoding the Drum

When decoding the Drum, we need to bear in mind the following points.

Figure 6: Images on “Ngoc Lu” Bronze Drum

Drum is a work of art. For a work of art, the visible is just the tip of what is expressed, evoking something deeper hidden between images.

Drum is also the encoded law of changes. Ha Do, 8 trigrams, 64 hexagrams were known for thousands of years before Drum’s creation, as early as 900 BCE. Therefore, on a circular surface of just 79.3 cm in diameter, it would not be a must to depict what had been widely known.

Moreover, it cannot be called encoding when Drum presented clearly & easily any single diagram if it is an important & not yet known.


Even though Wordless, Viet Drum Law of Changes is so wide & profound. It is infinite. The more we understand, the more we’ll realize how little we know. “Hontrongviet.net” hopes that the new findings will contribute to our collective effort to find and decode other mysteries of the VDC and its foundation, the “Am Duong Ngu Hanh” or Yin Yang Five Elements theory.

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