Attraction 02 2/9 street, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City Published on: 26-05-2018
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Why Danang Museum of Cham Sculpture is special ?
The Museum’s first building was opened in 1919, but many Cham sculptures collected in Da Nang and elsewhere were brought to the site over the preceding 20 years.
The collection was begun by French archaeologists and experts from L’École Francaise d’Extrême Orient (EFEO). Some artefacts were sent to Paris and others to the Ha Noi and Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City) museums, but many typical objects were left in Tourane (now Da Nang).
The establishment of a Cham sculpture museum in Da Nang was first proposed in 1902 by the Department of Archaeology of EFEO. Henri Parmentier, a prominent archaeologist of the department, made great contributions to the campaign for its construction. The first building was designed by two French architects. M. Deleval and M. Auclair. The Museum has been extended twice, but the character of the original architecture has been well preserved.
The first extension was in the 1930s, with two new galleries providing display space for the objects added in the 1920s and 1930s. Henri Parmentier directed the display based on the areas where the sculptures were found. The 1111 square metre of floor space was arranged into the My Son , Tra Kieu, Dong Duong and Thap Mam galleries and the Quang Tri, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Kon Tum corridors.
In 2002, the Museum was again extended with the two-storey building provide an extra 1111 square metre. The new building provides space for display, storage, a library, restoration workshop and offices for staff.
Before 2007, the Museum was managed by the Da Nang Museums and administrative organ in charge of the cities’ museums and heritage. On 02 July 2007, the City authorities affiliated the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture with the City Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism.
What to explore at Danang Museum of Cham Sculpture?
The sculptured artefacts in the collection of the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture are mainly of sandstone and terra cotta with a few bronze pieces. There is also a collection of clothing, photographs, films and digital discs.
The sandstone sections are the most important and include pedestals, statues of gods, holy animals and symbols and architectural decorations from Cham temples and worshiping sites.
The gods are identified with reference to the Indian mythology based on the holy animal the god often rode or the objects carried.
The pieces are identified according to where they were found or excavated, or the form or function of the object, including the round, relief, pedestal and architectural details. Thus criteria are explicit and uncontroversial.
Some researchers have used similarities, e.g. decorative design, the shape of hair curls, costumes, etc., to classify the Cham sculpture into several styles. Then, by referring to dates, which in some cases are clear enough, or to the styles in neighbouring countries, they have decided on the evolution of the styles. Each is named for the locality where a typical object of the style was found. For example, “the My Son E1 style” is applied to all objects bearing main features similar to those found in temple E1 at My Son in Quang Nam. The Dong Duong style refers to all objects similar to the sculptures from the Dong Duong relic in Quang Nam. The method of classification depends primarily on the conceptions and interpretation of different scholars.
60.000 VND / adult
30.000 VND / elderly over 60 years old
10.000 VND / Pupil and Student
How to get to Danang Museum of Cham Sculpture?
From Da Nang airport (about 4 km to the museum)
From the Da Nang railway station (about 6 km to the museum)
From Hoi An (about 30 km to the museum)
- A wonderful complement to My Son and Po Nagar
- Peaceful and context to Vietnam's rich culture
- A great place for 10th century cham art
- Great Collection in Beautiful Colonial Archtitecture
- Treasure of My Son under the roof
02 2/9 street, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Tips for you
Photography and videography are permitted with handheld cameras. Special photography/filming sessions require special permission. No images of the Museum or its collections may be reproduced, distributed in any media, including websites, without permission from the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture.Photography
Skulpturen der Minderheit der Cham.
Good place to see ancient relics of Champa kingdom. Come with an audio guide that can be shared between 2 persons.
Another museum where it would be better if the sculptures and statues were actually at My Son where they were removed from - a bit like the Elgin marbles. Repatriation is not just about getting material from Western museums back to the country of origin but also about getting material back to the place of origin. The material is great and worth seeing - it is just not in its original context.
The museum houses the world's largest collection of Cham sculptures dating from the 7th to the 15th centuries. You can definitely see the influence of the Hindu religion in the statues and sculptures.There are currently 8 galleries. Seven of the exhibitions areas are named after the area where the discoveries were made. The last gallery is dedicated to pieces mainly discovered after 1975.As expected there is one gallery dedicated to the My Son discoveries.We spent about 30 – 40 minutes or less at this museum. We had just enough time to get a “flavour” of what the museum represented. I could have spent more time viewing the exhibits.If you’re into history, this is a good place to go. However, I would have preferred to have gone to My Son.Also, if you’re into photography, here’s your chance to take some interesting photos.I would rate the museum at 3 out of 5 – interesting. Obviously, if your interest is history in general and / or religion your interest level for this attraction will be higher.Notes and Tips:• Our admission fees were included in our overall tour prices for Da Nang and Halong Bay. However per the Cham museum website the cost was VND 40,000 per person – just under $US 2.00.When I was planning our trip for this area, the original plan was to visit the My Son site as well as the Cham Musuem. However, due to our itinerary and time constraints we decided not to go.My Son, a 1999 UNESCO World Heritage site, is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa. The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva.My Son is approximately 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of Da Nang. The UNESCO heritage site, Hoi An, is in between Da Nang and My Son.• If you have the time, go see My Son. I wish we had enough time to have gone to My Son.• Guided tours for group of more than 5 are available daily from 8:00 to 10:00 and from 14:00 to 16:30. See museum website for details.• We used Asia Top Travel to arrange our tours for Halong Bay and Da Nang/Hoi An. There were 10 people in our group that was privately arranged rather than go through the cruise line which was more expensive. Our cost per person was US $65 for Da Nang and Hoi An that included transportation to and from cruise ship, admissions, lunch and a tour guide. We tipped the tour guide at the end of the trip.• Hoi An/Da Nang was our second stop in Vietnam after Halong Bay as part of our Azamara Journey cruise itinerary in mid December.• Stop number 3 was in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon). Review of various tourist sites to follow.• Standing outside the museum you can see the Dragon Bridge – a yellow coloured, dragon of steel interwoven into the span of the bridge. The steel dragon structure runs the length of the bridge that opened in March 2013
The Cham are quite an interesting people, and this is an excellent collection of sculpture from the great Champa empire. I think it merits a visit of several hours. However, visitors who come without prior knowledge about the Cham will get a lot more of a return on their investment in time if they start at the very end, and then see the collection. The main collection is in the original French building--one-story, three-sided with a patio open to all three sides. and quite similar to the French-designed National Museum in Phnom Penh, though that is four-sided, much bigger and much better. Behind the main building are the "new rooms" in a two-story, rectangular annex. I recommend on arrival, you immediately walk into the main building, through it, out the back, past the gift shop, into the annex and up the stairs to the second floor. Normally this would be the last place you would see--if you didn't get bored and leave the museum after 30 minutes, before ever getting there. There is no Cham sculpture upstairs, not even one carving (see photo). What IS up there is a roomful of large placards that provide excellent information and analysis about the Cham empire, the Cham people now, the Cham religions, and how the various Asian religions inter-relate. There are separate introductions to holy mountains and geomancy, water gods, plant gods, and so on. You learn about the impacts of trade routes, royal marriages, social institutions, etc. The discussion goes well beyond the Cham and even beyond Vietnam, as it must if you want to put Cham sculpture into cultural perspective. Taking the time to plow through this first for 15 or 20 minutes first, will make it much easier to understand and appreciate the sculptures downstairs. The Cham were a seafaring and trading race, more closely related to Hawaiians, Tahitians and Maori than to their southeastern Asian neighbors, the Khmer, Viets, Lao or Thai. They carved out a kingdom for themselves about 2,000 years ago in what is now Vietnam, super-imposed Hinduism onto their original beliefs, flirted with Buddhism, became quite early converts to Islam, fought a long series of wars against the Khmer which weakened both empires, and were finally overwhelmed by incoming Vietnamese 350 years ago. Most of the sculpture in the museum dates from the height of the Champa empire, and is based on the Hindu religion, although the deities are transformed quite a bit. Most of the sculpture here is high-relief, rather than free-standing statues. And most is carved in sandstone, which wears away much faster than, say, Carrera marble. So in many of the pieces, fine detail had been lost. I wonder how much wooden carving the Cham had; whatever they had, it's long gone now. There is one remarkable, thousand-year old bronze statue, the largest Chan bronze in the world. It's of the Buddhist bodhisattva Tara, the Goddess of Mercy much beloved by folk who risk their lives at sea, and while looking quite different, she's the same deity as Guanyin in China, Kanji in Japan, or Quan Am in modern Vietnam (see photo). Speaking of goddesses, the Champa sculptures make great use of the female breast, with long rows of them being used in many of the friezes. Remarkably different from the phallic linga that is so common in Khmer sculpture: no wonder they didn't get along! As you go from room to room viewing the sculptures, be on the lookout for boxes in each room containing stiff plastic placards which provide information about the most important works in that room. The placards are in various languages, but if you slide out enough of them, you'll find one that's in English. A while back, I had the opportunity to read a number of lectures that were delivered in the Ecole de l'Extreme Orient in Hanoi about 75 years ago, and I'm confident that much of what you'll read on these placards is simply the last word that eminent French scholars had on these works before Ho Chi Minh showed them out the door.
Good place to see ancient relics of Champa kingdom. Come with an audio guide that can be shared between 2 persons.