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Exploring Cham culture

2010-01-07 (GMT + 7)

Looking at a visitor concentrating on a sculpture, I set aside my intention to make her acquaintance and ask her feelings about the Cham Sculpture Museum, which stands silently facing the Han River in the central coast city of Danang. Like the others, she stopped for a long time at every Cham sculpture to read the historical notes. I understood that was not a time for talk as she was indulged in the world of Cham sculpture.

Not seen as a cradle of Cham culture, Danang is known with a Cham museum built in 1915 and housing some 2,000 artful Cham sculptures that were made of sandstone, terra-cotta and copper from the seventh to the fifteenth centuries. Those works are organized by location, such as My Son, Tra Kieu and Dong Duong, to make it easy for visitors to identify the provinces with Cham communities.

Walking through the corridors and display rooms, one may feel the color of time through artful sculptures which were carefully collected from ruins. Photo stories tell of the ups and downs of a culture whose golden past has left creative artful sculptures featuring religious symbols and the curves of dancing girls, among other things.

In other words, the museum is where Cham cultural features come to life again. That is one reason it is a favorite destination for many travelers during their visit to the coastal city. According to the Danang Tourism Promotion Center, the Cham Sculpture Museum received 124,800 visitors in 2009, including 106,000 foreigners.

It is better to have an experienced guide because many of the sculptures have a mysterious legend which you may otherwise miss. If you go in a group of five, the museum can arrange a guide to lead you through the history of Cham people via sculptures featuring activities of their daily lives. If you go alone, you can also ask for a guide give him/her a tip that is more or less up to you. Or you can explore by yourself and read the historical notes for information.

If you are visiting the city, save two hours for the Cham Sculpture Museum to explore Cham cultural features. The museum is located on 2/9 Street in Danang City. Entrance is VND30,000 per adult, VND5,000 for students and free for high school students.

Source: VietNamNet/SGT

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