Museum of Sa Huynh and Champa Culture

On the way to My Son from Da Nang is the town of Tra Kieu, known during Champa times as Simhapura (‘Lion City’). It is thought that Simhapura was a political capital for Champa, while My Son was a spiritual capital of sorts. I was searching for the archaeological remains of Simhapura – reportedly the rectangular remains of a stone building or ramparts – but was unsuccessful. Nobody seemed to know where it was. But I did stumble upon this:

Museum of Sa Huynh and Champa Culture
Museum of Sa Huynh and Champa Culture

The Museum of Sa Huynh and Champa Culture is a fairly large building. I was the only visitor at the time, and the attendant seemed quite surprised that there were visitors at all. Stepping through the entrance, one is greeted with a linga depicting the Trimurti and a long bas-relief.

The actual collection is housed on the entire second floor. The lights were switched off, and the attendant followed me around, switching on the lights to the different parts of the museum as we walked through.

The Sa Huynh is a prehistoric culture found largely in the coastal areas of central and southern Vietnam. They share many similarities with prehistoric coastal cultures in Southeast Asia, particularly the islands and it is believed that the Su Huynh people spoke an Austronesian language.


Ling-ling-o
Bicephalous ling-ling-o

The areas where Sa Huynh culture is found is often followed by remains from Champa, so it is thought that the two cultures are related. The Champa artifacts are not as impressive as the Museum in Da Nang – in fact, most of the sculptures are in fact replicas found on other museums.

Champa sculpture at the Museum of Sa Huynh and Champa Culture

Over at the My Son display, I saw something that I had not seen in the other museums and sites. These ceramics are thought to be roof tiles, perhaps the ends of tubes. What’s unique about them is that they have faces embossed on them, each of them unique!



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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

2 thoughts on “Museum of Sa Huynh and Champa Culture”

  1. Thanks for your recommendation. What an under-utilised facility. We went yesterday, a staff of three sitting about, we were the only patrons and enjoyed the quality personal presentation in good English particularly the sa huynh information. The grounds looked over grown, the car park had weeds but the displays were first class.i have not been to the Cham museum in dancing to compare unfortunately and will not have time this trip.

  2. subject : request for a Tu Hung Stone Arts museum visit
    1. I wish you all the best in the history of the museum.
    2. Ask for a visit to the museum. Details are below.
    3. visit time : 2017. 6. 26 ~ 2017. 7. 1
    4. the number of people : 10 People(Adults)
    5. purpose : visit
    Please contact me as soon as possible.
    I don’t care if your reply is not English.

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