Champa

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For the flower, see Plumeria.
Chăm Pa
Chiêm Thành
192–1832
The territory of Champa circa 1000–1100 CE, depicted in green, lay along the coast of present-day southern Vietnam. To the north (in yellow) lay Đại Việt; to the west (in blue), Angkor.
Capital Indrapura
(875–978)

Vijaya
(978–1485)

Panduranga
(1485–1832)
Languages Chamic languages, Sanskrit
Religion Cham religion, Hinduism and Buddhism, later Islam
Government Monarchy
History
 -  Established 192
 -  Panduranga annexed by Vietnam's Nguyễn dynasty 1832

The term Champa refers to a collection of independent Cham polities that extended across the coast of what is today central and southern Vietnam from approximately the 7th century through 1832, before being conquered and annexed by Vietnam. The kingdom was known variously as nagara Campa (Sanskrit; Khmer: ចាម្ប៉ា) in the Chamic and Cambodian inscriptions, Chăm Pa in Vietnamese (占城 Chiêm Thành in Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary) and Zhànchéng in Chinese records.

The Chams of modern Vietnam and Cambodia are the remnants of this former kingdom. They speak Chamic languages, a subfamily of Malayo-Polynesian closely related to the Malayic and Bali–Sasak languages.

Champa was preceded in the region by a kingdom called Linyi (林邑, Lim Ip in Middle Chinese) or Lâm Ấp (Vietnamese) that was in existence from 192 AD; the historical relationship between Linyi and Champa is not clear. Champa reached its apogee in the 9th and 10th centuries. Thereafter, it began a gradual decline under pressure from Đại Việt, the Vietnamese polity centered in the region of modern Hanoi. In 1832, the Vietnamese emperor Minh Mạng annexed the remaining Cham territories.

Mỹ Sơn, a former religious center, and Hội An, one of Champa's main port cities, are now World Heritage Sites.

Overview[edit]

Geography of historical Champa[edit]

Between the 2nd and the 15th centuries, Champa at times included the modern provinces of Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Phú Yên, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận, and Bình Thuận. Though Cham territory included the mountainous zones west of the coastal plain and (at times) extended into present-day Laos, for the most part, the Cham remained a seafaring people dedicated to trade, and maintained few settlements of any size away from the coast.

Historical Champa consisted of up to five principalities:

  • Indrapura ("City of Indra") was the capital of Champa from about 875 to about 1000 AD. It was located at the site of the modern village of Dong Duong, near the modern city of Da Nang. Also in the region of Da Nang are the ancient Cham city of Singhapura ("City of the Lion"), the location of which has been identified with an archeological site in the modern village of Trà Kiệu, and the valley of Mỹ Sơn,[1] where a number of ruined temples and towers can still be viewed. The associated port was at modern Hội An. The territory once controlled by this principality included present-day Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, and Thừa Thiên–Huế provinces.
  • Amaravati was located in present-day Quảng Nam Province. The earliest mention of Amaravati is from an 1160 AD inscription at Po Nagar.[2]:211-318
Depiction of fighting Cham naval soldier against the Khmer, stone relief at the Bayon
Closeup of the inscription in Cham script on the Po Nagar stele, 965 CE. The stele describes feats by the Champa kings.
  • Vijaya was located in present-day Bình Định Province. Early mention is made of Vijaya in an 1160 AD inscription at Po Nagar.[2]:318 The capital has been identified with the archeological site at Cha Ban. The associated port was at present-day Qui Nhơn. Important excavations have also been conducted at nearby Thap Mam, which may have been a religious and cultural center. Vijaya became the political and cultural center of Champa around 1000 AD, when the northern capital of Indrapura was abandoned due to pressure from the Viet. It remained the center of Champa until 1471, when it was sacked by the Viet and the center of Champa was again displaced toward the south. In its time, the principality of Vijaya controlled much of present-day Quang-Nam, Quang-Ngai, Bình Định, and Phú Yên Provinces.
  • Kauthara was located in the area of modern Nha Trang in Khánh Hòa Province. Its religious and cultural center was the temple of Po Nagar, several towers of which still stand at Nha Trang. Kauthara is first mentioned in an 784 AD inscription at Po Nagar.[2]:318
  • Panduranga was located in the area of present-day Phan Rang in Ninh Thuận Province. Panduranga was the last of the Cham territories to be annexed by the Vietnamese. Panduranga is first mentioned in an 817 AD inscription at Po Nagar.[2]:318

Within the four principalities were two main clans: the "Dua" and the "Cau". The Dua lived in Amravati and Vijaya, while the Cau lived in Kauthara and Panduranga. The two clans differed in their customs and habits and conflicting interests led to many clashes and even war. But they usually managed to settle disagreements through intermarriage.[3]

Historiography[edit]

Sources[edit]

The historiography of Champa relies upon three types of sources:[4]

  • Physical remains, including brick structures and ruins, as well as stone sculptures;
  • Inscriptions in Cham and Sanskrit on steles and other stone surfaces;
  • Chinese and Vietnamese histories, diplomatic reports, and other texts such as those provided by Jia Dan.[2]:319

Overarching theories[edit]

This Cham head of Shiva was made of electrum around 800 AD. It decorated a kosa, or metal sleeve fitted to a liṅgam. One can recognize Shiva by the tall chignon hairstyle and by the third eye in the middle of his forehead.

Modern scholarship has been guided by two competing theories in the historiography of Champa. Scholars agree that historically Champa was divided into several regions or principalities spread out from south to north along the coast of modern Vietnam and united by a common language, culture, and heritage. It is acknowledged that the historical record is not equally rich for each of the regions in every historical period. For example, in the 10th century, the record is richest for Indrapura; in the 12th century, it is richest for Vijaya; following the 15th century, it is richest for Panduranga. Some scholars have taken these shifts in the historical record to reflect the movement of the Cham capital from one location to another. According to such scholars, if the 10th-century record is richest for Indrapura, it is so because at that time Indrapura was the capital of Champa. Other scholars have disputed this contention, holding that Champa was never a united country, and arguing that the presence of a particularly rich historical record for a given region in a given period is no basis for claiming that the region functioned as the capital of a united Champa during that period.[5]

Sources of foreign cultural influence[edit]

Through the centuries, Cham culture and society were influenced by forces emanating from Cambodia, China, Java and India amongst others. Lin Yi, a predecessor state in the region, began its existence in 192 AD as a breakaway Chinese colony. An official successfully revolted against Chinese rule in central Vietnam, and Lin Yi was founded in 192.[6] In the 4th century, wars with the neighboring Kingdom of Funan in Cambodia and the acquisition of Funanese territory led to the infusion of Indian culture into Cham society. Sanskrit was adopted as a scholarly language, and Hinduism, especially Shaivism, became the state religion. From the 10th century onwards, Arab maritime trade in the region brought increasing Islamic cultural and religious influences. Champa came to serve as an important link in the spice trade, which stretched from the Persian Gulf to South China, and later in the Arab maritime routes in Mainland Southeast Asia as a supplier of aloe. Despite the frequent wars between Champa and Cambodia, the two countries also traded and cultural influences moved in both directions. Royal families of the two countries intermarried frequently. Champa also had close trade and cultural relations with the powerful maritime empire of Srivijaya and later with the Majapahit of the Malay Archipelago.

Evidence gathered from linguistic studies around Aceh confirms that a very strong Champan cultural influence existed in Indonesia; this is indicated by the use of the Chamic language Acehnese as the main language in the coastal regions of Pidie, Aceh Besar, Aceh Jaya, North Aceh, East Aceh, West Aceh and Southwest Aceh Regencies and the cities of Lhokseumawe and Bireuën.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Main article: History of Champa

Cham in present-day Vietnam[edit]

The Vietnamese government fears that evidence of Champa's influence over the disputed area in the South China Sea would bring attention to human rights violations and killings of ethnic minorities in Vietnam such as in the 2001 and 2004 uprisings, and lead to the issue of Cham autonomy being brought into the dispute, since the Vietnamese conquered Cham people in a war in 1832. The Vietnamese continue to destroy evidence of Cham culture and artifacts left behind, plundering or building on top of Cham temples, building farms over them, banning Cham religious practices, and omitting references to the Cham capital of Song Luy, destroyed in the 1832 invasion, in history books and tourist guides. The situation of Cham compared to ethnic Vietnamese is substandard, lacking water and electricity and living in houses made out of mud.[7]

The Cham in Vietnam are only recognized as a minority, and not as an indigenous people by the Vietnamese government despite being indigenous to the region. Both Hindu and Muslim Chams have experienced religious and ethnic persecution and restrictions on their faith under the current Vietnamese government, with the Vietnamese state confisticating Cham property and forbidding Cham from observing their religious beliefs. Hindu temples were turned into tourist sites against the wishes of the Cham Hindus. In 2010 and 2013 several incidents occurred in Thành Tín and Phươc Nhơn villages where Cham were murdered by Vietnamese. In 2012, Vietnamese police in Chau Giang village stormed into a Cham Mosque, stole the electric generator, and also raped Cham girls.[8] Cham Muslims in the Mekong Delta have also been economically marginalized and pushed into poverty by Vietnamese policies, with ethnic Vietnamese Kinh settling on majority Cham land with state support, and religious practices of minorities have been targeted for elimination by the Vietnamese government.[9]

Religion[edit]

Hinduism and Buddhism[edit]

10th century "dancers' pedestal" in the Tra Kieu style, depicting an apsara dancer and a gandharva musician.
13th century sculpture in the Thap Mam style, depicting Garuda devouring a serpent

Before the conquest of Champa by the Đại Việt emperor Tran Thánh Tông in 1471, the dominant religion of the Cham people was Hinduism, and the culture was heavily influenced by that of India. The Hinduism of Champa was overwhelmingly Shaiva and it was liberally combined with elements of local religious cults such as the worship of the Earth goddess Lady Po Nagar. The main symbols of Cham Shaivism were the lingam, the mukhalinga, the jaṭāliṅgam, the segmented liṅgam, and the kośa.[10]

  • A liṅga (or liṅgam) is black stone pillar that serves as a representation of Shiva. Cham kings frequently erected and dedicated stone lingas as the central religious images in royal temples. The name a Cham king would give to such a linga would be a composite of the king's own name and suffix "-iśvara", which stands for Shiva.[11]
  • A mukhaliṅga is a linga upon which has been painted or carved an image of Shiva as a human being or a human face.
  • A jaṭāliṅga is a linga upon which has been engraved a stylized representation of Shiva's chignon hairstyle.
  • A segmented liṅga is a linga post divided into three sections in order to represent the three aspects of the Hindu godhead or trimurti: the lowest section, square in shape, represents Brahma; the middle section, octagonal in shape, represents Vishnu, and the top section, circular in shape, represents Shiva.
  • A kośa is a cylindrical basket of precious metal used to cover a linga. The donation of a kośa to the decoration of a liṅga was a distinguishing characteristic of Cham Shaivism. Cham kings gave names to special kośas in much the way that they gave names to the liṅgas themselves.[12]

The predominance of Hinduism in Cham religion was interrupted for a time in the 9th and 10th centuries, when a dynasty at Indrapura (modern Dong Duong, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam) adopted Mahayana Buddhism as its faith. The Buddhist art of Dong Duong has received special acclaim for its originality.

Beginning in the 10th century, Hinduism again became the predominant religion of Champa. Some of the sites that have yielded important works of religious art and architecture from this period are, aside from Mỹ Sơn, Khuong My, Trà Kiệu, Chanh Lo, and Thap Mam.

Islam[edit]

Islam started making headway among the Cham after the 10th century. By the 17th century, the royal families of the Cham had converted to Islam. Most Cham are now evenly split between being followers of Islam and Hinduism, with the majority of Vietnamese Cham being Hindu while the majority of Cambodian Cham are Muslim, though significant minorities of Mahayana Buddhists continue to exist.

Indonesian 15th century records indicate the influence of Princess Daravati, a Cham, converted to Islam,[13] and influenced her husband, Kertawijaya, Majapahit's seventh ruler to convert the Majapahit royal family to Islam. The Islamic tomb of Putri Champa (Princess of Champa) can be found in Trowulan, East Java, the site of the Majapahit imperial capital.[14] In the 15th to 17th century, Muslim Cham maintained a cordial relationship with the Aceh Sultanate through dynastic marriage. This sultanate was located on the northern tip of Sumatra and was an active promoter of the Islamic faith in the Indonesian archipelago.

Economy[edit]

In contrast to Đại Việt, Champa's economy was not based on agriculture. As seafaring people, the Cham were highly mobile and established a network of trade including not only the major ports at Hội An, Thi Nai but also extending into the mountainous hinterland.[15] Maritime trade was facilitated by a network of wells that provided fresh water to Cham and foreign ships along the coast of Champa and the islands of Cu Lao Cham and Ly Son.[16] While Kenneth R. Hall suggests that Champa was not able to rely on taxes on trade for continuous revenue, but instead financed their rule by raiding neighbouring countries, Hardy argues that the country's prosperity was above all based on commerce.[17]

The vast majority of Champa's export products came from the mountainous hinterland, sourced from as far as Attapeu in southern Laos.[18] They included gold and silver, slaves, animal and animal products, and precious woods.[19] By far the most important export product was eaglewood. It was the only product mentioned in Marco Polo's brief account and similarly impressed the Arab trader Sulayman several centuries earlier.[20] Most of it was probably taken from the Aquilaria crassna tree, just as most of the eaglewood in Vietnam today.[20]

Archaeological Remains[edit]

Mỹ Sơn is the site of the largest collection of Cham ruins.

Religious[edit]

  • Mỹ Sơn near the town of Hội An on the Thu_Bồn_River. Established by Bhadravarman I in the 5th century, Vikrantavarman initiated a major building program in the 7th century. Construction continued until 1157 under Harivarman.[2]:320
  • Po Nagar in Kauthara, on a harbor, comprising six temples and a pillared hall. Established before the 7th century, a wooden structure was burned in 774 AD. Satyavarman initiated major construction in 757 AD. One tower dates from 813 AD and construction continued until 1256 AD.[2]:320
  • Dong Duong was founded by Jaya Indravarman in 875 AD. Most of the complex was destroyed duing the Vietnam War. The site consists of three large courts, a large assemby hall, and a main temple sanctuary. Two bronze statues, one of Buddha and one of Avalokiteśvara were found at the site.[2]:320-321
  • Po Klaung Garai

Defended Centers[edit]

  • Qusu, located above the Kiến Giang River, was in place by the 4th century and includes a revetted wall and moat as do the other centers. Qusu was sacked by the Chinese in 446, "all inhabitants over the age of 15 were put to the sword" and as much as 48,000 kg of gold taken.[2]:321,323,325
  • Song Luy is located on the coast south of Cape Dinh.[2]:321
  • Thanh Ho is located on the northern bank of the Đà Rằng River.[2]:321
  • Caban was probably the capital of Vijaya.[2]:322
  • Chau Xa[2]:322
  • Tra Kieu is located near the Hue River.[2]:322
  • Canh Tien is located north of Quy Nhon and contains a possible royal palace.[2]:322
  • Trà Kiệu or Simhapura, dating from two to three centuries BC until the 6th or 7th centuries.[2]:322


Some of the network of wells that was used to provide fresh water to Cham and foreign ships still remains. Cham wells are recognisable by their square shape. They are still in use and provide fresh water even during times of drought.[16]

Museums[edit]

The largest collection of Cham sculpture may be found in the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture (formerly known as "Musée Henri Parmentier") in the coastal city of Da Nang. The museum was established in 1915 by French scholars, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia. Other museums with collections of Cham art include the following:

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Hanoi
  • Museum of History, Hanoi
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Saigon
  • Museum of History, Saigon
  • Musée Guimet, Paris

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "KINGDOM OF CHAMPA". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Higham, C., 2014, Early Mainland Southeast Asia, Bangkok: River Books Co., Ltd., ISBN 9786167339443
  3. ^ Rutherford, Insight Guide — Vietnam, pg. 256.
  4. ^ Vickery, "Champa Revised", p.4 ff.
  5. ^ Maspero, Le royaume de Champa, represented the thesis that Champa was politically unified. Vickery, "Champa Revised", challenges that thesis.
  6. ^ Stacy Taus-Bolstad (2003). Vietnam in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 20. ISBN 0-8225-4678-7. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  7. ^ Bray, Adam (16 June 2014). "The Cham: Descendants of Ancient Rulers of South China Sea Watch Maritime Dispute From Sidelines". National Geographic News (National Geographic). Archived from the original on 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Mission to Vietnam Advocacy Day (Vietnamese-American Meet up 2013) in the U.S. Capitol. A UPR report By IOC-Campa". Chamtoday.com. 2013-09-14. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  9. ^ Taylor, Philip (December 2006). "Economy in Motion: Cham Muslim Traders in the Mekong Delta" (PDF). The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology (The Australian National University) 7 (3): 238. doi:10.1080/14442210600965174. ISSN 1444-2213. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Hubert 2012, p. 31.
  11. ^ Ngô 2005, p. 68ff.
  12. ^ Ngô 2005, p. 69.
  13. ^ Maspéro 2002, p. 114.
  14. ^ Taylor 2007, p. 72.
  15. ^ Hardy 2009, 110–11
  16. ^ a b Hardy 2009, 111
  17. ^ Hardy 2009, 113
  18. ^ Hardy 2009, 114
  19. ^ Hardy 2009, 111–12
  20. ^ a b Hardy 2009, 116

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]