Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture : Thap Mam Gallery

Explore the collection of Cham sculpture art from the 5th to the 15th century CE

By Quang Binh Tourism Department

The Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang

Thap Mam galleryQuang Binh Tourism Department

Thap Mam Gallery - The final glory of Champa art

The name Tháp Mẫm refers to a ruined monument of Champa that is located in Nhơn Thành commune, An Nhơn district, Bình Định Province. Approximately 58 tons of artifacts were found during the 1934 excavation, including large statues and architectural elements made of sandstone. The style of the sculpture collected at Tháp Mẫm is generally characterized as detailed but stereotyped, and lacking individuality and liveliness.  The use of the term “Tháp Mẫm style” refers to the Cham art of the later period that shares these features. After the Tháp Mẫm period, Cham art continued to decline.

BrahmaQuang Binh Tourism Department

Brahma is the Hindu God of Creation. Sometimes considered to be the God of Intelligence. Brahma is portrayed here with four heads (only three visible) and seated on his mount - the swan Hamsa. His right leg is bent horizontally while the left stretches downward with the foot pointed to the ground. Both hands are placed on his thighs, with the right holding a sword.

Brahma 2Quang Binh Tourism Department

His headdress is the Kirita Mukuta. His neck, arms, wrists, and ankles are all adorned with jewelry. His garment is a three-layered and ornately decorated sampot, with side panels embroidered with flowers. This sculpture shows the influence of Khmer art from the 12th century.

Dragon / Makara - 1Quang Binh Tourism Department

This unique representation of a dragon squats on its front paws, which are folded under the body, while its rear paws are raised upward. Inside the mouth is a pearl, a theme possibly borrowed from Sino-Vietnamese art.

Dragon / Makara - 2Quang Binh Tourism Department

This dragon is a chimera, with the head being from Makara, the body and paws from a lion, and the tail and scales coming from a crocodile.

Gajasimha / Elephant - LionQuang Binh Tourism Department

Gajasimha has an elephant’s head and lion’s body, thus it is also named elephant-lion. As door guardians, statues of Gajasimha were placed in front of temples. Gajasimha is a favorite figure in Champa sculpture but rarely seen in other Southeast Asian artistic traditions.

Gajasimha / Elephant - Lion 2Quang Binh Tourism Department

This sculpture shows Gajasimha with a raised trunk, neck adorned with a ring of bells, layers of fur stylized in parallel strips as seen commonly on sculptures of the Tháp Mẫm period.

Thap Mam worship pedestal - 2Quang Binh Tourism Department

This pedestal, like most sculptures in Tháp Mẫm gallery, was discovered in 1934.

Thap Mam worship pedestal - 3Quang Binh Tourism Department

The four sides feature a row of female breasts running between two symmetrical bands of a flame-shaped motif. The motif of female breasts, a symbol of fertility, is a popular theme of the Tháp Mẫm style.

Thap Mam worship pedestal - 4Quang Binh Tourism Department

Two lion telamons stand at two corners as support elements while the holy birds Garuda occupy the other ends.

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The Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang

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