54 Ethnic groups - List of Ethnic groups - Cham - Tangible heritage and intangible

15:18 | 13/03/2012

My Son Sanctuary

My Son Sanctuary is recognized by UNESCO in 1999
Cultural Heritage; Criteria No. 2, 3
The study of French scientists on My Son sanctuary can be divided into two different stages:

In 1898 - 1899, Louis de Fino and Launet de Lajonquere researched epitaphs.
In 1901 - 1902, Hen ri Pamlentier studied about art and in 1904 he along with Olrpeaus held the archaeological excavations here.
By 1904, the most basic materials on My Son were announced by L. Finot and H.Pamlentier. From the study project of H. Parlnentler, we know that more than 100 years ago, My Son had 68 structures and he divided them into the groups A, A 'to N.
Art researcher F.S. Tern divided Cham Vietnam heritage into seven artistic styles in its evolution process. My Son has enough delegates for each style, including the two styles coming from My Son. Especially, My Son A.1 style with starting point of A1 temple is often called as architectural masterpiece of Cham remains.
Epitaphs in My Son show that the history of My Son was started by the wooden temples in the fourth century. Then it burnt away, but we did not know the reason. By the seventh century, another king offered and built a brick temple. Since then, the Champa Kingdoms continuously offered temples; the architectures in My Son extend from the first towers in the seventh century to the last temples in the thirteenth century. Within such seven centuries, My Son temples were in new construction and ongoing renovations, so the art style and its architecture also represent the transformation of the development process of Champa art and architecture. We also see that the ancient Champa kingdoms apart from the new temple construction, they also had the task of repairing the old temples and they just repaired the exterior walls rather than the interior. Therefore, if only basing on the exterior decoration to define the temples’ age, it is not true because when repairing, it is likely that the next generation will impose their period’s style of art on the temple wall. 

As a country influenced by Indian civilization, Shiva is a god worshiped in the kingdom of Champa. My Son Temples were built by the Champa kingdom to worship their King gods. The combination of king and god is shown through Linga idol. From the beginning, the Cham artists almost learnt the ways to decorate the art and make it as the Indians (My Son E1). But later on, the native characters are shown. However, over time, through the communication with other civilizations and selective uptake of the Champa artist, My Son temples brought the architectural lines under the different periods to show the flow of cultures they received. As the main temple area of the kingdom during the nine centuries, the temples of My Son also demonstrated the ups and downs of the period, the changes in the history of the monarchies, changes in cultural life. Although they only built the works with small and medium size, the architecture of My Son distilled the essence of the artist, the combination of technical architecture and ancient Champa decorative arts to create a majesty and mystery for the temples.
When talking about the Cham ruins, we usually talk about the brick temples. Nevertheless, in My Son there is a temple made of stone and it is the only temple made of stone of Cham ruins. Epitaphs in My Son present that this temple was restored by stone at last time in 1234. Today, it is regretted that this temple was destroyed, but its foundation system showed that its height is 30m and this is the highest temple of My Son. The collected materials surrounding this temple demonstrate that it is likely to be the location of the first temple in the fourth century.

In 1937, French scientists began the restoration work in My Son. In 1937-1938, temple A1 and the small temples surrounding were restored. In the years, from 1939 to 1943, the towers B5, B4, C2, C3, D1, and D2 was restored and reinforced. In 1939, in order to study the relics of the groups A, B, C, D from the destruction of the water (destroyed the tower A9), the French built a dam and dig the flow through a mountain to change the flow direction. But in 1946, after a big flood, the dam was broken, water run back to the old stream as we see today.
My Son had a quiet period from 1954 to 1964. Meanwhile, the war to liberate the national did not come to the fierce period. But from 1965 to 1972, when the areas of Duy Xuyen and Quang Nam became a battle field, My Son towers and temples were also damaged along with the village that it was named after. The heaviest bombing in 1969 caused the deformation on the shape of the relics. Most temples were collapsed or severely damaged. After the war, aiming to serve for the study and restoration of remains, we implemented demining in this area. My Son after the war, was sprawling of brick, it needed the help of many people. In 1980, in Vietnam Poland co-culture program, restoration of Champa relics restoring subcommittee was established by the late architect KAZIMIERS KWIATKOWSKI (1944-1997) in charge. From 1981 to 1985, the towers B, C, D were cleaned and reinforced, thousands of cubic meters of rubble and soil was taken out of region and rearranged. Accordingly, this area had the appearance like it today. Then a part of the group A was cleaned and reinforced. My Son now still has a lot of work to do, but the current appearance is due to the effort of many people in the difficult 1980s. The late Polish architect who was called as a close name of Kazik left a deep affection in ruins and people at My Son. He died in 1997 in Hue.
To continue the preservation of relics, in 1995, the My Son Relic Management Board was established. To have the basis for conserving and promoting the relics’ values, the Board collaborated with Central Relics Designing and Renovating Center set up the urgent restoring projects for each group of relics on the basis of regional planning. Most prominent in the years 1998-1999, the Board completed the dossier to submit to the UNESCO for reorganizing My Son as World Heritage. In December 1999, My Son officially became World Cultural Heritage with two standards: A striking example of cultural exchange with the integration into the local culture. The external cultural influences, especially Hindu architecture of the Indian subcontinent vividly reflects the development process of Champa cultural history in cultural history of Southeast Asia. 

In 1999, under the tripartite agreement of Vietnam - UNESCO - Italy, the My Son Relic Management Board cooperated with Italian experts to study comprehensively about My Son.
Since then, we had the status map on relic area in 2000. Experts said that the treatment to relics must be cautious, must study carefully on the construction materials as the ancients did not just leave the value of art and history but also the material technique. Until today, we still do not have a scientific conclusion which brings the correctness and application. An antique brick is lighter than the current brick at the same size by 1.3 times. Brick was baked quicker but the resistance of the material is higher. Especially if you look on the outside walls of temples, we felt that the wall was built without mortar, but when the tiles were separated we saw that there was a thin layer of mortar. European analysts concluded that this mortar composition was an inorganic constituent without binding. We need further studies. My Son Cham towers contain not only the cultural values captivating us, but also include the technical values which our technology has not solved yet. Go to My Son and look at a wall to know that we still have to learn a lot.
To preserve relics from the effects of nature, the new forests have been planted; the border around the relics must be protected. Currently, although many works must be done, My Son Mountain and forest are covered by blue back. During reinforcing and revealing relics, My Son Relics Management Board must continue demining the second time to ensure that the war will not hurt people and ruins again.
Meanwhile, along with the better relic preservation, the cultural need of the people and tourists has become higher. My Son became a place attracting many internal and external visitors; My Son gradually recovered its face with people’s love. To attract tourists and develop the economy and reduce the pressure impacting on relics in the future, Duy Xuyen District People's Committee planned to build up Thach Ban resort, My Son. With this project, it is expected that preserving and promoting the values of Cham My Son tower relic will be implemented efficiently and sustainably. World Cultural Heritage of My Son Cham towers contain great cultural values, requiring people’s knowledge and love. /.

VFUC (Source: unescovietnam.vn)




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