This small museum of Cham sculpture is home to the world’s largest collection of Cham artefacts, housed in buildings marrying French-colonial architecture with Cham elements. Though founded by the French in 1915, the site was known as the "garden of sculptures" and many Cham sculptures that had been collected in the region over the preceding twenty years.
Cham people is one of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, their state called Champa which flourished along the coasts of central Vietnam for roughly between 500AD and 1500AD. The history of Champa was one of intermittent conflict and cooperation with the people of Java, the Khmer of Angkor in Cambodia and Vietnam.
The remnants of classical Cham art extant today consist mainly in temples of brick, sandstone sculptures in the round, and sandstone sculptures in high and low relief. A few bronze sculptures and decorative items made of metal remain as well. There are no works of marble or other higher quality stone. The Museum of Cham Sculpture displays more than 300 pieces including altars, apsaras (heavenly nymphs), garudas (griffin-like sky beings), lingas (stylized phalluses that represent Shiva) and images of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, all dating from the 5th to 15th centuries.