Constructed in 875 CE under the reign of Indravarman II, the Đông Dương Monastery was once the largest Buddhist site of the Champa kingdoms. Excavations conducted by the École française d’Extrême-Orient in the early 20th century unearthed numerous Buddhist artifacts dating to around the 9th and 10th centuries, which are today exhibited at many museums in Vietnam and abroad. This lecture critically examines the Đồng Dương Buddhist gallery at the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang. It argues that the current display is an attempt to re-contextualize the original landscape of the Đồng Dương monastery and the significance of the Đồng Dương Buddhist art tradition. However, due to the employment of modern “museological devices”, insufficient interpretation, and the gaps caused by absent objects it is argued that what results is a de-contextualized display that is largely inaccessible to museum viewers. My analysis of the display also aims to provide a context within which we can see problems in the curation of this gallery from the colonial to the post-colonial period
Duyen Nguyen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is also a staff member of the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Vietnam. Her research focuses on the sculptural art of Champa and other museological issues.
Rie Nakamura received a Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington. She was a program officer at the Toyota Foundation. She taught at the School of International Studies at the University Utara Malaysia. She is currently a visiting researcher at the Asian Cultures Research Institute in Toyo University, Japan.