Built in 1915, the Museum of Cham Sculpture houses the world’s largest collection of artifacts that represent ten centuries (5th – 15th) of the evolution of Cham sculpture which illustrate the rise and fall of the Champa Kingdom(s) of Central Vietnam.
The museum presents a curated walk through the major eras of Champa history remembered in sandstone, bronze and terracotta. After a walk up a gardened pathway, visitors step into the Tra Kieu gallery to encounter the earliest Champa capital. The walls are flanked by mighty Hindu gods, graceful Apsaras, and playful lions.
The first national treasure, a huge Linga rises from a carved stone base, a testament to early Hindu influence that symbolizes the power of creation. Passing the second threshold, visitors enter the My Son gallery, named for the holy land in Champa territory.
Here sits the My Son E1 altar, a national treasure, with carvings featuring activities of Hindu ascetics at My Son sanctuary. The scenes are depicted in a vivid and highly expressive style that is referred to by art historians as a masterpiece of Southeast Asian art.
A major shift toward Buddhism in Cham culture is shown clearly in the Dong Duong gallery by the statue of Buddha occupying a full wall from floor to ceiling. The large bronze statue of the Bodhisattva Tara, another famous national treasure, represents the apex of Champa art with a vigorous and exaggerated original beauty.
The Thap Mam gallery is the last of the permanent exhibits showing a large number of mythical Hindu animal artifacts and ornate Cham sculptures. Another feature of this gallery is the use of the breast motif in some of the pedestals highlighting the importance of fertility and sensuality in Cham art.
A visit to the museum would be not be complete without enjoying a coffee on the museum’s veranda with the breeze coming off the Han river. With a convenient location in the heart of Da Nang, the museum is the perfect place to visit either before or after a trip to My Son Sanctuary, or just to contemplate the rich cultural history of Vietnam.
Address: No.2, 2 thang 9 street, west side of Dragon Bridge
Phone: 0511 357 4801
Business Hours: Everyday 7am – 5pm
Entrance fee: 40,000đ
Audio tours: 20,000d (in Vietnamese and English)
Free guide for groups of five or more (Vietnamese, English and French)