The treasures in the Cham Museum come from Dong Duong (Indrapura), Khuong My, My Son, Tra Kieu and other sites.
The original Chams were probably colonists from the Indonesian islands, who adopted as their principal vocations those of trade, shipping, and piracy. Their cities were ports of call on important trade routes linking India, China and the Indonesian islands.
The civilization of the Chams is knows as Champa.
Champa was an Indic civilization that flourished along the coasts of what is now central and southern Vietnam for roughly a one thousand-year period between 500 and 1500 AD.
The history of Champa was one of intermittent conflict and cooperation with the people of Java, the Khmer of Angkor in Cambodia and the Đại Việt of what is now northern Vietnam. It was to the Đại Việt that Champa finally lost its independence.
The artistic legacy of Champa consists primarily of sandstone sculptures - both sculpture in the round and relief sculpture - and brick buildings. Some metal statues and decorative items have also survived. Much of the remaining art expresses religious themes, and though some pieces would have been purely decorative, others would have served important functions in the religious life of the Chams, which synthesized elements of Hinduism (especially Saivism), Buddhism and indigenous cults.
The largest collection of Cham art is on exhibit at the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang.
© Grewals Photography 2014