Cham Museum: The Largest Collection of Cham Sculpture

Cham Museum - Vietnam Shore Excursions


Vietnam Shore Excursions is very proud to share this useful information about the Cham Museum in Da Nang City. It is the largest collection of Cham sculpture and artwork in the world. Whenever visiting the Museum of Cham Sculpture, you still perceive an individual atmosphere particular to this place, the reverie of reminiscences. Situated in a quiet area of Da Nang City, Cham Museum was built in 1915 according to the motifs of ancient Cham Architecture. At first it was named the Henry Parmenties Museum.

Cham Museum - Vietnam Shore Excursions

The museum is officially known as the Museum of Cham Sculpture. The kingdom of Champa (or Lin-yi in Chinese records) controlled what is now south and central Vietnam from approximately 192 through 1697. The empire began to decline in the late 15th century, became a Vietnamese vassal state in 1697, and was finally dissolved in 1832. At present, the museum houses 297 stone and terracotta sculptural works made between the 7th and the 15th centuries. These are impressive works typical of the Cham culture.

Sculpture in Cham Museum - Vietnam Shore Excursions

A Brief History of the Champa

According to Chinese chronicles, the Champa kingdom was founded in 192 A.D and had different names such as Lin-Yi, Huang-Wang and Chang-Chen. Its territories stretched from south of the Ngang Pass in Quang Binh Province to the delta area of the Dong Nai River in Binh Thuan Province. It included the coastal plains, highland and mountain ranges.

Influenced by the early Hindu civilization, the Champa kingdom was a federation of several smaller states called Mandala and comprised several ethnic groups.

The most important legacy of the Champa kingdom is located in Central Vietnam in the form of brick temples and towers which are scattered over the coastal lowlands and highlands. The structures date from between the 7th and 8th centuries to the 16th and 17th centuries and are concentrated in Quang Nam, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.

Museum of Cham Sculpture - Vietnam Shore Excursions

Highlights of Museum of Cham Sculpture

The Most Extensive Collection of Cham Art Worldwide…

The Museum of Cham Sculpture was built in Cham architectural style, using thin lines that are simple and gentle. The museum displays an intensive and diverse collection of Champa sculpture dating from the 7th to the 15th centuries, when a matriarchal society prevailed.

The Museum of Cham Sculpture was established at the end of the 19th century by the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient with a collection of artifacts gathered in central Vietnam, from Quang Binh to Binh Dinh. They were then displayed at Le Jardin de Tourane on a small hill by the Han River. This is the site of the present museum.

The building was designed by two French architects, Delaval and Auclair, in imitation of the most commonly used aspects of Champa towers and temples.

Cham Museum Da Nang - Vietnam Shore Excursions

At present, the Cham Museum displays approximately 300 sandstone and terra-cotta sculptures, among which some are made from terracotta. Most of the artifacts are masterpieces of Champa art and some are considered to be equal to works anywhere in the world. The sculptures were collected from Cham temples and towers throughout Central Vietnam, more specifically the area stretching from Quang Binh to Binh Thuan.

All the sculptures are displayed in 10 showrooms named after the localities where the pieces have been discovered.

After visiting the pieces in the showrooms, you can visit exterior exhibitions. The arts of the Champa were chiefly sculpture, but the sculptures are only part of the religious architecture. The temples and towers themselves are considered to be sculptural artifacts. They are decorated on the exterior of their brick walls with bas-relief columns, flowers and leaves and worshipping figures between brick pillars. The tympana, lintels and the ornamental corner pieces are of sandstones carved with the figures of gods, the holy animals of the Hindus and flowers and leaves.

The artifacts displayed at the museum are altars, statues and decorative works collected from Hindu and Buddhist temples and towers. Champa sculpture displays various styles. Sometimes they were influenced by other cultures but no matter at what period or in what style the Champa artifacts were made they always displayed original characteristics.

Cham Sculpture Museum - Vietnam Shore Excursions

Visitors to the Cham Museum will have the opportunity to appreciate the eight centuries of evolution of Champa sculpture from its golden age to its decline. In their own way, the artifacts exemplify the rise and fall of the Champa civilization. When we stand before these artistic masterpieces, we can comprehend the noblest ideal of art, the creation of the infinite from the finite.

The eight centuries of art at the Champa Museum is a thick history book reflecting the ups and downs of Champa art. From inanimate stones came living art, and from these wonderful invaluable artifacts we can get the feeling that the warmth from the Champa artists’ hand is still there, on the fine skin of the stone-timeless.

The sculptures displayed here almost have the same drifting life as the very destiny of the once-glorious culture that generated them. Through the ruins of time, war and even the oblivion, such original Champa sculptures were hardly collected and brought here by many human generations. And in this systematic collection, these works of the ancient Champa artists again have a new life.

Museum of Cham Sculpture - Vietnam Shore Excursions

Coming to visit the Cham Museum, it seems that you can see again the glorious time of the past of a nation for whom both the passion for art and the creative talent were already at a very high level. The mysterious world of deities, the pictorial legends, the religious symbols, the curving lines of the bodies of dancing girls, the features of full swelling breasts, the smiles of a vague time, all of these are shown very lively and in much detail.

The art of Champa, although influenced by the Hindu themes of India and Southeast Asia, has many elements that make it distinctive.

Temples in Champa were made of bricks. As a result, artists did not have long expanses of wall to decorate with bas-reliefs depicting Hindu epics or phases of Buddhist life as seen, for example, at Angkor Wat. The Chams incorporated their sculptures into their temple architecture by carving them separately and making them part of the construction. These carvings are classified into four main groups: Icons; Pedestals; Pediments; Fragments of architectural decorations at the base or on various ties of the temple.

Profoundly influenced by the architecture and sculpture of the Indian civilization, the ancient Champa has a vision of life and religion according to their own feeling. Such refraction brought to their world of art a subtle and distinct beauty: spiritual and very close, unique and familiar…

Museum of Cham Sculpture Da Nang - Vietnam Shore Excursions

Good to Know about Museum of Cham Sculpture

  • The first building of Cham Museum was opened in 1919
  • The collection was started by French archaeologists and experts from L’École Francaise d’Extrême Orient (EFEO).
  • There is an onsite shop in which you can find imitation pieces.
  • There are also English-language guidebooks for tourists to buy.

Cham Museum Map

How to Get to Cham Museum Da Nang?

Da Nang Cham Museum is located in the center of Da Nang City. It’s very easy to get there. If you stay in Hoi An city, you can take a taxi or hire a motorbike. You also book a car with your driver to get here. The perfect way to get to Cham Museum Da Nang Vietnam and study Cham Culture and Hinduism in Vietnam is to book our Da Nang Tours such as Da Nang Half Day Tour or Da Nang City Tour Full Day or Da Nang Shore Excursions via Vietnam Shore Excursions.

Spread the love

David Nguyen - Vietnam Travel Expert

Mr. David Nguyen is a travel expert and as a seasoned traveler he has the inside track on the most memorable adventures which will help you to have unforgettable memories and wonderful experiences to better your Vietnam Holiday!

Hotline: +84913138096 (WhatsApp/ Zalo/ Imessage) Email:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *