The Cham Museum in Danang, Vietnam holds the best collection of Cham artifacts in the world. The Champa people ruled most of Vietnam from the 7th to 15th century.
Most of the sculptures on display in the museum were sculpted during the Cham rule of Vietnam.
This is during the same time that the Khmer people ruled Cambodia and called Angkor Wat and the surrounding city their Capital.
In Thailand it was the city of Ayutthaya that was home to the country's fourishing Capital city.
The Cham people fought a series of wars with the Angkorian Khmer people. At one point the Cham sacked the Capital city of Angkor during the 12th century AD but in the end they were defeated by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII and sent packing back to Vietnam.
The Capital city for the Cham people was in My Son, Vietnam. There are some pretty decent temples and Palaces in My Son but nothing compared to those in Angkor.
It is a pretty decent thing to do during your stay in Danang. It will only take you an hour to have a good look around the museum and if you are fascinated by 1000 year old sandstone impressions influenced by early Hindu civilization then have a look.
Have a look at the best book ever written about the history of the Cham people and the artifacts in the Cham museum.
It is fascinating how the sculptures closely resemble those found at both Angkor Wat and Ayutthaya in Thailand. It seems hard to imagine that there was a common theme of art, culture and worship that resounded throughout thousands of miles of the same area in sountheast asia.
But the My Son ruins and the artwork found at the Cham museum in Danang is clearly inferior to that found at Angkor in Cambodia. The Same gods carved into the same type of sandstone done by clearly inferior craftsmen.
Have a look. Especially if you have or will pass through the ruins at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Even a visit to the ruins at My Son is worth the trip. You can really see the same influences throughout.
The best part of this museum is that of the way they are displayed. There are 8 centuries of evolution clearly displayed in the art. Yo can see the very beginning, the golden age and then the decline reflected in the art.
The Museum is located on the corner of Trung Nu Vuong Street and Bach Dang Steets in Danang.
The entrance fee is 30,000 VND or about $2USD.
Were the Cham Related to the People of Angkor Wat?
The artifacts don't lie. The similarities are too obvious to ignore. But how could a people have so much in common so far from one another?
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