Museum of Cham Sculpture

One of the more established tourist attractions in Da Nang is the Museum of Cham Sculpture at the corner of Trung Nu Vuong and 2 Thang 9 Streets. Almost a hundred years old, it houses a large sculpture collection from the Champa sites in the region (those that haven’t been looted or on display at some other faraway museum, that is).

Museum of Cham Sculpture, Da Nang
Museum of Cham Sculpture, Da Nang

The museum is a lot larger than the picture suggests – it extends quite deep and is divided into a number of galleries. Unlike the flashy museums of Singapore, the displays and curation are quite rudimentary. No clever panoramas or detailed descriptions of artifacts, just the artifact on a pedestal or a ledge with a tag. There were some multilingual overviews of the Champa culture and specific sites.

Interior of the Museum of Cham Sculpture
Interior of the Museum of Cham Sculpture
Sculpture from Dong Duong
Sculpture from Dong Duong

Sculpture housed here were originally from Champa sites in the vicinity, including My Son, Tra Kieu and Dong Duong. Because these sculptures are now out of context, it is hard to imagine what they looked liked in their original setting – even after visiting My Son the next day. This is a mixed curse I guess, because if left in situ they would have been vulnerable to looting.

Altar
Altar

Elephant sculpture

Durga and Lintel depicting Court Life
Durga and Lintel depicting Court Life

The museum’s worth a visit because of the sheer size of the collection. You see an odd linga or Ganesha in other collections. Here, they literally have tons.

The Museum of Cham Sculpture is located at the corner of 2 Thang 9 Street (visitor’s entrance). It is open from 7am to 5.30pm and the entry fee is 30,000 VND. Check out their website here.

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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.

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