“Hồn Trống Việt” (Soul of the Vietnam’s Drum) would like to bring knowledge about the “Ngoc Lu” bronze drum’s Law of changes, encoded on the Drum.
The Ngoc Lu bronze drum was discovered in 1893 in Ngoc Lu village, Ly Nhan, Ha Nam province & dated about 900 BCE to 200 CE. As a most outstanding, beautiful & quintessential representative of Dong Son culture, the Drum is the Vietnam’s national treasure & currently displayed at the Vietnam National Museum of History in Hanoi1Source: Vietnam National Museum of History.
Drum Law is a system, consisting of Diagrams, rules, methods, their relationships and meanings. It is the content of the theory “Am Duong Ngu Hanh (ADNH)” or “Yin Yang Five Elements”, one of the most ancient philosophies of mankind.
Drum’s Law has existed alongside “I Ching”, one of the 5 Chinese classics for at least 2000 years ago but is almost unknown.
Compared to the I Ching, Drum law is both similar & different. If left separately, Hà Thư, đồ hình đầu tiên và nền tảng của Dịch Trống. Hà Thư phối với BQHT. Hà thư giống Hà đồ của Kinh Dịch.... More is similar to Ha Do & BQLD is the same as TTBQ of the “I Ching”. As things are always interrelated, no diagram can stand alone but always incorporate one or more other elements. When connecting the elements together, for example the trigrams’ AD or Yin Yang and/or the numbers of the trigrams, we’ll see that there is no longer any exactly similar diagram between Drum’s Law & “I Ching” (Fig. 2).
Not only are the diagrams different, but the quantity, laws & methods of the Drum’s Law are also different, namely the S-Motion Law & the Am Duong or Yin Yang classification method. Especially, among Drum’s diagrams, there is a “Bat Quai Tai Nhan” or Human 8 trigrams that is a guide to achieve the Great harmony, the most inclusive, deepest & core thought of ADNH theory, often referred to as the Bipolar Unity.
As such, we can say that in addition to its historical, cultural and artistic value, “Ngoc Lu” Bronze Drum is also the wordless sutra on the “Am Duong Ngu Hanh (ADNH)” theory.
The “I Ching” & Drum’s Law of Changes
The “I Ching” with its symbol Tai Chi is China’s Classics & is well-known around the world.
Looking at the History of I Ching, we’ll notice a turning point that occurred around 500 BCE, when the Ten wings were compiled. The current “I Ching” or “Zhou Yi” is a combination of the Ten Wings & the diagrams & sutra that had existed long before the Ten Wings.
Around 900 BCE to 200 CE, a separate systematization occurred in the current Vietnam, and the Drum’s law is its product.
Vietnam and China have many things in common due to the geographical proximity, the sharing of history, culture, traditions etc. However, like all other countries and peoples in the world, there are differences too. I Ching & Drum’s law are not the exception. That’s why when we introduce the Drum’s law, the reference to “I Ching” is inevitable.
Once again, we would like to emphasize that the purpose of Hồn Trống Việt is to make “Ngoc Lu” drum’s law to be more known & understood to the world, and hopefully, there will be more in-depth research & studies, because it carries important messages to humankind.
To the Vietnamese people, studying the Drum’s Law is even more meaningful as it is a product that expresses our ancestors’ worldview about nature, society, life & human and has been institutionalized, turn into customs, traditions, language, speech, way of thinking, and way of life, past and present.
Knowledge & wisdom about the law of changes encoded on the drum are infinite, the more we understand, the more we’ll realize how little we know.
However, with efforts of many people, coupled with the guidance & help from “Ngoc Lu” and other “Dong Son” drums, we will find and decode other mysteries of the Drum’s law of changes and its foundation, the theory of Yin Yang & Five Elements.