Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture : My Son Gallery

By Quang Binh Tourism Department

The Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang, Da Nang City Department of Tourism

My Son GalleryQuang Binh Tourism Department

My Son Gallery - Relics from the most sacred place of Champa

Mỹ Sơn was the most sacred place of the Champa Kingdom. In the present day, it belongs to Quảng Nam province - 30km west of Tra Kieu - a town which was once one of the capitals of Champa. Within a valley surrounded by mountains, there are 70 towers, built to worship Shiva.

Mỹ Sơn E1 PedestalQuang Binh Tourism Department

This pedestal was originally comprised of 16 blocks of stone joined together, but two of them were lost. Originally, there was probably a Linga - Yoni set on the top of the altar, but unfortunately, it has been lost to history.

Details on the Mỹ Sơn E1 Pedestal E1 - 4Quang Binh Tourism Department

This altar is unique in Cham art for numerous reasons, including its depiction of the Ascetics; the theme of Mount Meru from Hindu tradition; and the use of architectural elements to frame individual scenes. At the front of the altar, there is a stairway carved with dancers performing the scarf dance.

Details on the Mỹ Sơn E1 Pedestal E1 - 2Quang Binh Tourism Department

On the right side of the stairway is a skillfully carved architectural style frame, depicting an ascetic sitting inside a doorway. He plays an instrument similar to a harp.

Details on the Mỹ Sơn E1 Pedestal E1 - 1Quang Binh Tourism Department

On the left is another doorway with an ascetic playing the flute.

Details on the Mỹ Sơn E1 Pedestal E1 - 3Quang Binh Tourism Department

Around the sides of the altar, there are also scenes of ascetics, in the midst of their daily activities. The decorative motifs around the altar include alternated patterns of lozenges and four-petaled flowers. These motifs also appear in the Mon-Dvaravati art tradition in the 7th-8th centuries. The Mỹ Sơn E1 Pedestal was recognized as a National Treasure in 2012.

The Birth of BrahmaQuang Binh Tourism Department

This is the pediment that crowned the entrance to the Mỹ Sơn E1 Temple. It entered the Museum’s collection in 1935 and illustrates the Hindu creation story of the Dawning of the Lotus Era. The universe is engulfed by the cosmic ocean, and the god Vishnu reclines in meditation as he floats upon the seven-headed serpent Shesha. A lotus sprouts from his navel, and Brahma springs up from it to create a new world.

In Indian art, Laksmi, Vishnu’s wife, is usually depicted in this position instead of the ascetic. At the two ends of the pediment, there are two bird deities known as Garuda, depicted here with human bodies and bird claws. This type of image of Garuda was also popular in Mon-Dvaravati art in Thailand, the same time period as Mỹ Sơn E1.

SivaQuang Binh Tourism Department

This statue was discovered in Mỹ Sơn C1 Temple in 1903. Based on the anthropomorphic form, the garment and especially the two arms put forward (which are now broken), the French archeologist Henri Parmentier thought that this sculpture probably depicts Shiva as a mendicant.

Siva (details)Quang Binh Tourism Department

However, the Cham had a tradition of their kings being deities, and specifically that they were living representations of Shiva on earth. Therefore, it has been suggested that this work depicts a God-King. It is a rare theme in Cham sculptural art which was historically popular between the late 8th century and the early 9th century.

Siva (angle)Quang Binh Tourism Department

There is only one other example similar to this, a standing Shiva in similar posture and size, which is currently displayed in Mỹ Sơn site. In the early 20th century, French archaeologists found a set of gold jewelry (1.5 kg) at the Mỹ Sơn C7 Temple site. It is believed that important statues of gods such as this Shiva would have been adorned with gold jewelry, a theory which is bolstered by the fact that Shiva’s ears are pierced, rather than having earrings depicted.

Credits: Story

The Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Wonders of Vietnam
From caves and dragons to fishing villages and floating houses
View theme
Google apps