The Section of Cham Antiques - One more unique cultural destination in Hue
: 14/02/2019 04:28:11
On the occasion of the Vietnam Cultural Heritage Day November 23, Hue Monuments Conservation Center officially reopened the Section of Cham antiques with 3 groups of antiques discovered and excavated in Binh-Tri-Thien provinces, Tra Kieu (Quang Nam province) and Thap Mam (Binh Dinh province) to introduce to visitors the valuable sculptures of the once brilliant Cham civilization and art.

Tra Kieu capital formed in the IVth-Vth centuries was the capital of the minor state Amaravati of Champa Kingdom (Zhang Cheng). The sandstone sculptures of Hindu temples of the Champa dynasties that are introduced in the Section of Cham antiques ​​were moved to Hue after the excavation of the École Française d'Extrême Orient presided by the French archaeologist Jean-Yves in the years 1927-1928. Among the many artifacts were brought to Hue, some sculptures selected to introduce in this exhibition date from the VIIth to the XIIth centuries, including a statue of Lion /Human-lion (Narasimha) - an incarnation of the god Vishnu, the Conservator of the Universe; god Indra statue – the idol of a Hindu temple at Lion Citadel (Simhapura) and also the only Indra statue discovered at Tra Kieu site; statue head of Deva, statues of elephants, monkeys, dancers, etc. Most of the sculptures in Tra Kieu capital are in large size, showing the vivid sculpted manner that formed a unique style of Cham art of this period. Besides, these works also show the popular construction technique of combining brick and stone in the architecture of Champa temple-towers from the XIth century.

Somewhat later, most of the sculptures in Thap Mam site (the area of Do Ban/Cha Ban fortress of the ancient kingdom of Champa) date back to the XIIth – XIIIth centuries when the minor state Vijaya (nagaraVijaya) in the area of Binh Dinh province took the central role of the Kingdom(s) of Champa and created a close relationship with Angkorian Empire (present Cambodia) through the overland trade route connecting with Thi Nai/Sri Boney port-city (Quy Nhon), and then integrated into the network of international commercial sea route. The sculptures presented at the Section of Cham antiques excavated in 1934 by Jean-Yves Claeys are large-sized works, the proof of comprehensive development of the economy and culture of the Kingdom of Champa from the XIth century. They are the statues of holy bird Garuda or half-human, half bird Kinnara elaborately carved, revealing the subtle aesthetic trend of Champa nobility at the time.

In particular, the collection of Cham antiques introduced this time will focus on the sculptures originating from the provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue dating from the VIIIth to the XVth centuries with many unique works such as the idol statues in the main hall of a temple, god statue, Linga statue or the yoni-linga idol, large-sized reliefs decorated on architecture such as Makara statue, God Agni statue, ascetic statue, statue of God Shiva ascetic, etc. Most of  sculptures selected to display are high value of art and rich in types with specific origin, contributing to evidencing the existence of the Hindu temple-towers in the Central part in the process of absorbing the diversified culture of the Champa kingdom, in which the influences of Indian culture are features of this period. These are the vivid material evidences for understanding about the history of this important area in the formation of specific nuances of Champa culture and later the Central part’s culture - Hue culture throughout the centuries.

The event of reopening the Section of Cham antiques will bring to visitors and generations of students, researchers an interesting and attractive destination on the journey of discovering the cultural heritage of Hue ancient capital.

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