Members of the Cham Studies team were honored to participate in the first ever conference on “Binh Dinh Ancient Ceramics – Vijaya Kingdom and Its Relationship with Thang Long Citadel – Dai Viet (11th – 15th Centuries)”. This event in Quy Nhon city hosted international researchers coming from as far as Switzerland, France, Australia, The United States, Brunei, the Philippines, China, South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, among others. Attendees included some of the top experts in the world on topics such as Cham architecture, art history, ceramics, and archaeology. Not only was this an opportunity to share the latest research investigating these subjects, but it was also a chance to visit some of the most famous Cham sites in Vietnam. Included were Duong Long Temple, Banh It Temple, Doi Temple, as well as some archaeological sites such as Go Sanh and Go Cay Me–all of which help to broaden our understanding of Champa, Vietnam’s past, and important intercultural connections within Southeast Asia and elsewhere around the world. Most especially, this event helps us understand the central region of Vietnam more clearly, traditionally known as Vijaya, which was one of the most important historical and cultural centers of the kingdom of Champa from the 11th to the 15th century.
Dai Viet, Champa and Funan are the three main civilizations that helped build Vietnam as we know it today, which was emphasized at the conference by Dr. Bui Nhat Quang, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. Conference participants worked together to help to clarify the distinct character of Champa ceramics, and in particular, their relationship with the Thang Long Citadel and role in inspiring some of the most well-known aspects of Vietnamese culture today. Conference papers also helped to underscore the uniqueness of these ceramics as not simply part of Vijaya, or Binh Dinh (and sometimes “Vietnamese”) ceramics, but rather the unique cultural heritage of the Champa Kingdom in Vietnam. Through these investigations, we are also able to understand Champa’s maritime relations with distant places like Brunei, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, whose connections inspired the development of culture and materials found only within Southeast Asia.
While the conference was only two days long, it has left lasting impressions on members of the Cham Studies team who maintain enduring commitments to the research, promotion, and preservation of Cham traditional heritage and understandings of Cham communities all around the world. Our team would like to wish the very best for everyone who attended this conference, with hopes that you will all make it home safely and with a new sense of profound inspiration. We look forward to meeting again soon for a chance to continue our intriguing conversations and connections. We also thank the organizers of this amazing event, whose hard work has paid off tremendously and in particular the UBDN of Binh Dinh Province, and the Institute of Imperial Citadel Studies (Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences) for helping to facilitate this unforgettable event. The support of the Vietnam Government and this research institute cannot be understated, and we look forward to future events celebrating the amazing and diverse heritage of Vietnam connected to Champa and Cham culture in all of its beautiful forms.