Traditional Art Cham in Vietnam

New Straits Times -  Malaysia, 3-11-1997


CHAMPA is the oldest country in Central Vietnam and its history shows that it has a close tie with the Malay Archipelago since both countries are from the same Austranesian family tree.

To promote its history and the relationship between the Champas and the Malays, a month-long Costumes of the Malay Champa in Vietnam exhibition is being held at the National Museum at Jalan Damansara.

Organised in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Ecole Francaise ‘Extreme – Orient (EFEO), the exhibition was opened by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Sabbaruddin Chik recently.

Also present were EFEO deputy director Dr Jackie Assayag and Department of Museums and Antiquities director – general Dr Kamarul Baharin Buyong.

In his short speech, Sabbaruddin said the objectives of the exhibition was to trace the history and lives of the people in Indochina since the pre-Islamic revolution.

“It is also to introduce the Champa culture and arts, especially of those from Champa and Cambodia.

“Its traditional costumes will also be exhibited.

“The language of Malay-Champa and its connection with the Malay language is also highlighted in the exhibition.

* Hani và chị em Cham ở triển lãm Malaysia.

Through this exhibition, a wider prespective in the research area is also developed,” he said.

With a federation of five states namely Inderaputra, Amaravati, Vijaya and Panduranga (Phanrang and Phanri), the cultural and artistic perspectives of Chams have also strong influences with the South East Asian nations.

They are reflected through the architecture, music and songs, as well as traditional clothes, textiles and some Malay literatures in Chapa, such as Hikayat Inderaputra and Hikayat Dewamandu.

The Champa people comprises the Cham, Cru, Raglai, Jarai and Hrai.

Today, there are 80,000 Chams who live on the mountains and the coastal area of central Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh city, Chau Doc and Tay Ninh in south Vietnam, Cambodia as well as in Ayuthya and Bangkok in Thailand.

An estimated 25,000 Chams residing in the Chau Doc and Tay Ninh provinces practise orthodox Islam, similar to that practised by the Malays in Malaysia.

Many of the Cham in this region speak Malay and read religious books written in jawi.

The Chams have their own traditional clothings which are similar in features to the Malay traditional clothings of Malaysia.

Thay include sarong and skullcaps for men and long tunic outfits (baku kurung) and scarves for the women.

Since the olden days, Chams are noted for their expertise in weaving. Their textile patterns are similar to that of the locals.

For those who would like to know more about Champa culture, they can visit the National Museum. The exhibition ends on Nov 23.



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