Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture, treasure of the Champa Kingdom
- on Sep 27, 2019       By: Bảo Ngọc
In the heart of the city, the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture is an informative and attractive stopover, especially for lovers of history and sculpture of Champa. It’s a nice visit to discover a wonderful part of the riches of the Champa Kingdom’s treasure.
Built in 1915-1916 by the French School of the Far East, the museum presented an important set of excavations at the end of the 19th century by French archaeologists. In addition, it owes its initial name "Henri-Parmentier Museum" to its founder, a great archaeologist-architect who devoted himself passionately to the research and preservation of antiquities.
Opened to the public in 1919, initially housing 190 objects, the establishment was expanded to highlight enriched collections for two decades after. They consist mainly of Cham remains found in the coastal area of the Center and in the Central Highlands.
This century-old museum in Da Nang city suffered serious losses and ravages due to the extension in 1946 of the Indochina war. Fortunately, two years later, more than 150 objects were recovered in 1948, including some from Laos. During the period 1954-1975, thanks to the mobilization of the Guimet Museum of Asian Art, it benefited from a better protection and conservation in spite of the time and the war.
The exhibition space has been expanding since 1975 to reach a surface of 2,000 m² out of a total of more than 6,600 m². Of its 2,000 or so preserved objects, 288 are on display in the interior and 187 are outside collections. They are highlighted, with explanations in French and English, in thematic rooms according to the place of their revelation. Visitors are invited to a rich tour around the My Son, Tra Kieu, Dong Duong and Thap Mam halls and the Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Kon Tum corridors.
You can enjoy a wide variety of carving objects including brick, bronze and sandstone which is a panorama of great artistic references the Champa, dating from the 7th – 15th century. The statuettes and bas-reliefs display great finesse to revive the religious but also daily life of Cham. The sculptures representing monks, gods, goddesses, or sacred animals bring out the mixed conceptions between Buddhism and Brahmanism, two great religions that rocked this brilliant and mystical civilization. What’s more, rich in archaeological and aesthetic value, those mythical symbols also bear witness to strong cultural influences from India and China.
Among the antiques on display at the Da Nang Cham Sculpture Museum, you will be delighted to see three preserved works as a national treasure, the statue of Bodhisattva Tara, My Son E1 altar and Tra Kieu.
Statue of Bodhisattva Tara
The statue of Bodhisattva Tara is the largest bronze statue of cham in Vietnam to date. Dating from the 9th century and measuring 129.3cm in height, it embodies a pure elegance and seductive by a surprising refinement representative of the Dong Duong style.
My Son E1 altar
The My Son E1 altar, found in the ruins of My Son and dated to the 7th-8th century, is the oldest and most integral sandstone masterpiece of its kind. In square shape, it recounts through the meticulous motifs, the varied scenes of daily life to the religious rites of Buddhism 1,300-1,400 years ago. The motifs as well as the themes highlight the first exchanges between two cultures, India and Cham.
Tra Kieu altar
Finally, another sandstone treasure from the 7th - 10th century, the Tra Kieu altar is a unique heritage of the Tra Kieu sculpture style that can only be admired in the Museum of Cham Sculpture. This beautiful sculpture tells you a sumptuous marriage between Prince Rama and Princess Rita of the legendary epic Ramayana.
Location: No. 2, 2nd September str, Da Nang City.
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