Vol. 10, No. 1, BOOK REVIEWS, Momoki Shiro


Contents>> Vol. 10, No. 1

Champa: Territories and Networks of a Southeast Asian Kingdom

Arlo Griffiths, Andrew Hardy, and Geoff Wade, eds.
Paris: École française d’Extrême-Orient, 2019.

Champa: Territories and Networks of a Southeast Asian Kingdom is the latest publication to come out of a relatively recent international collaboration on Champa studies.1) It includes a preface (an introduction to the scholarship on Champa and the major issues of this volume) and 17 articles contributed by 20 authors (among them seven female scholars) who studied, worked, and/or have been working in Vietnam, France, England, Italy, the United States, Canada, India, Russia, China, Singapore, Japan, and other countries. The compact but relevant preface, a summary at the beginning of each article, pictures and maps, tables, detailed footnotes concerning sources, and frequent mention of the connections among chapters and authors will all help students and scholars outside their own discipline to make their way into the accumulation of professional research and sources from many disciplines, such as archeology, history, epigraphy, linguistics, architecture, art history, and iconography. In this sense, this book can even serve as the first full-scale research guide to Champa studies.

Senior readers may be impressed with how the academic framework of “Indianized states” in ancient Southeast Asia synthesized by George Cœdès by the 1960s, and that of Vietnamese national history that developed after Vietnam’s independence, were—and are—being revised. In these frameworks, Champa (the history of Champa itself was mainly synthesized by George Maspéro) was generally treated as an “unfortunate” weak state. War in Central Vietnam until 1975 and the subsequent isolation of unified Vietnam made it difficult to update the research on Champa. From the mid-1980s on, however, Champa studies saw a rather dramatic revival—not only in Vietnam and France but also in English-based academia, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and so forth.2) New academic trends such as Southeast Asian regional history, maritime Asian history, social history, and global history supported the revival and subsequent new development of Champa studies. The Đổi Mới (renovation) policy of Vietnam and academic policies of ASEAN also enhanced international collaborations among Vietnamese and foreign scholars for fieldwork, excavations, archival research, and publications.

This book is divided into three parts, titled “Territories,” “Kingdom,” and “Regional Networks.” The six articles in Part 1, which are based on research in the archeology of the Metal Ages and early states, epigraphy and ethnolinguistic studies, archival study of early modern legal documents, and so forth, clearly show that the conventional theory of state formation through Indianization—whether by Indian colonizers or by local chiefs—and the narrow picture of the mono-ethnic kingdom of the Chams which collapsed in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries can no longer be maintained. The relationship between Sa Huỳnh culture (a metal culture that thrived in present Central Vietnam) and the impact of Chinese culture in the early Champa “capital” of Trà Kiệu (Quảng Nam) are stimulating new debates on the process of Champa’s formation. The evidence of Chinese influence may also shed new light on once-forgotten debates on the relationship between Linyi (a polity that gained independence from China’s southernmost district of Xianglin, possibly having its first centers to the north of the Hải Vân Pass) and Champa (which seemingly emerged in present Quảng Nam). The epigraphic and ethnolinguistic findings in the highlands and riverine networks that connected the sea with islands, port cities, plains, and highlands (where not only Austronesian speakers but also Mon-Khmer ones played important roles) lead readers to new inquiries about the diverse territorial and ethnic composition of Champa, while the archival study of the eighteenth century, the last phase of Champa history, shows potential for new research topics such as class and gender.

With a complete inventory of architecture and inscriptions, and diplomatic documents of Ming China, the five articles of historical, architectural, and epigraphic research in Part 2 mainly attack two earlier views, one held by the Indianized school before the 1970s (represented by Cœdès) and the other proposed since the 1980s by revisionist scholars (such as Trần Quốc Vượng). First, the authors are quite critical of the conventional picture of Indianized states, in which Champa after the tenth century was declining under constant pressure from Đại Việt and Cambodia. Instead, they show the strong authority exercised over vast territories beyond the present Quảng Nam–Quảng Ngãi region by such kings as Jaya Harivarman in the twelfth century (after the occupation by Ankhorian Cambodia) and Virabhadravarmadeva (seemingly two separate kings who reconstructed the kingdom after the damage caused by Đại Việt from 1390) in the early fifteenth century. These understandings, combined with a reexamination of early Chinese sources and inscriptions until the seventh century, raise the second issue: critical counterarguments against the revisionist hypothesis since the 1980s, which regarded Champa as a mere loose federation of local powers (in other words, there were different Champas through the course of history). With an exhaustive reexamination of epigraphic sources, the contributors to this volume emphasize the unitary nature of Champa, with its center located in the Thu Bồn river system in Quảng Nam. (Note, however, that Linyi in Chinese sources until the early eighth century may have indicated a different polity from Champa.) Andrew Hardy, one of the editors of this volume, tries to reconcile such a unitary nature with the coexistence of local powers and the collapse of the unitary Champa after 1471, proposing a dynamic mechanism of integration and fragmentation in a segmentary state (a model that used to be applied to the cyclic nature of political integration and disintegration in India).

The final six articles, in Part 3, focus on diplomatic and cultural interactions between Champa and surrounding countries/people, a research topic encouraged by new perspectives of interstate/interregional networks. The fundamental change in research on Chinese documents, which took place after the 1970s (when a great deal of authentic materials became available) but was overlooked even by revisionist scholars not familiar with Chinese documents and the Sinic world, is now well applied to the study of the triangular relationship between Champa, Ming, and Đại Việt. The renovated methodology of linguistics allows for a revision of well-known theories, proving that Acenise is not a direct descendant of the Cham language but has a more remote kinship with the Cham from a far earlier phase and that the Chamic language on Hainan Island derived not from the Northern Cham dialect but from a more southern one. New evidence in the fields of architecture and sculpture is exploited to shed light on regional interactions and their routes between Champa and Dvaravati, Cambodia, India, and Java. Not only diverse influences among these areas and the unique creativity of people from many parts of Champa—famous centers such as Mỹ Sơn and Đồng Dương in addition to northern areas such as Quảng Trị and Huế, and southern areas such as Phú Yên and Bình Định—but also the role of artists moving between different countries (between Champa and Dvaravati, for instance) are discerned.

In sum, this book shows in an exciting way what world academia can achieve when thorough exploitations of source materials (inscriptions by Arlo Griffiths and Chinese records by Geoff Wade, for example) are combined harmoniously with new perspectives and theories of area and global studies (regarding cultural spheres and cultural interaction, state integration and collapse, and so forth) against the background of effective collaborations and discussions among scholars from different academic disciplines. This will surely provide Japan’s academia, from which young scholars (including Yamagata Mariko, who contributed a paper to this volume) have appeared one after another since the 1990s, with a reliable base for broader participation in collaboration and discussion. There are important works by Japanese scholars that are still to be introduced to world academia (though some of them were published in Vietnamese or Chinese or referred to in Momoki [2011]), from the studies of earlier-generation Asianists on the Yuan-Mongol expedition, the introduction of Islam, the origin of the words kalambak and gharuwood, and so on to the recent findings on Champa ceramics in Japan and the reexamination of Champa’s position within the tributary system and imagined world order of Song China and Lý-Trần Đại Việt (Endo et al. 2018).

Finally, the Kyoto-style historical research in ecology, technology, and agricultural development, which was applied effectively to research on the deltas of the Red River and the Mekong by Sakurai Yumio and other scholars, should be remembered. Scholars such as Trần Quốc Vượng, William Southworth, and Hardy have attempted to understand the geographic and ecological conditions of Champa in general ways. This reviewer believes that Kyoto-style research can be applied to research on present-day Central Vietnam in order to deepen the views of the scholars mentioned above. Leaving aside the extraordinary development of fifteenth-century Đại Viêt (pointed out by Hardy in his chapter in Part 2), future research using Kyoto methods on agrarian societies is expected to help historians deepen the study of the social and economic background of Champa’s drastic political rise and fall during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.3) This will help the Eurasian long-term history of Lieberman’s Strange Parallels (2003; 2009)4) (to which both Hardy and John Whitmore refer in their chapters) to incorporate Champa in a better way.

Momoki Shiro 桃木至朗
Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University


Centre d’Histoire et Civilisation de la Péninsule Indochinoise. 1991. Le Campa et Le Monde Malais: Actes de la Conference Internationale sur le Campa et le Monde Malais [Champa and the Malay world: Proceedings of the international conference on Champa and the Malay World]. Paris.

―. 1988. Actes du séminaire sur Campa organisé à l’Université de Copenhague le 23 Mai 1987 [Proceedings of the seminar on Champa organized at the University of Copenhagen, May 23, 1987]. Paris.

Endo Satoshi; Iiyama Tomoyasu; Ito Kazuma; and Mori Eisuke. 2018. Recent Japanese Scholarship on the Multi-state Order in East Eurasia from the Tenth to Thirteenth Centuries. Journal of Song-Yuan Studies 47: 193–205.

Hardy, Andrew; Cucarzi, Mauro; and Zolese, Patrizia, eds. 2009. Champa and the Archaeology of Mỹ Sơn (Vietnam). Singapore: NUS Press.

Lieberman, Victor. 2003, 2009. Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c. 800–1830, 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Momoki Shiro. 2011. “Mandala Champa” Seen from Chinese Sources. In The Cham of Vietnam: History, Society and Art, edited by Trần Kỳ Phương and Bruce M. Lockhart, pp. 120–137. Singapore: NUS Press.

―. 1999. A Short Introduction to Champa Studies. In The Dry Areas in Southeast Asia: Harsh or Benign Environment? Papers Presented at Kyoto-Thammasat Core University Seminar, Kyoto, 21–23 October 1996, edited by Fukui Hayao, pp. 65–74. Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University.

―. 1998. Was Champa a Pure Maritime Polity? Core University Seminar, Kyoto University and Thammasat University: Eco-History and Rise/Demise of the Dry Areas in Southeast Asia. Kyoto: Kyodai Kaikan, Oct. 16.

O’Conner, Richard A. 1995. Agricultural Change and Ethnic Succession in Southeast Asian States: A Case for Regional Anthropology. Journal of Asian Studies 54(4): 968–996.

Trần Kỳ Phương; and Lockhart, Bruce M., eds. 2011. The Cham of Vietnam: History, Society and Art. Singapore: NUS Press.


1) It was compiled based on the papers presented at the Paris conference on “New Research in Historical Champa Studies” in 2012, organized by EFEO and ISEAS Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, Singapore.

2) Major works published in Western countries include Centre d’Histoire et Civilisation de la Péninsule Indochinoise, Actes du séminaire sur Campa organisé à l’Université de Copenhague le 23 Mai 1987 [Proceedings of the seminar on Champa organized at the University of Copenhagen, May 23, 1987] (Paris, 1988); Centre d’Histoire et Civilisation de la Peninsule Indochinoise, Le Campa et Le Monde Malais: Actes de la Conference Internationale sur le Campa et le Monde Malais [Champa and the Malay world: Proceedings of the international conference on Champa and the Malay World] (Paris, 1991); Andrew Hardy et al. (eds.), Champa and the Archaeology of Mỹ Sơn (Vietnam) (Singapore: NUS Press, 2009); and Trần Kỳ Phương and Bruce M. Lockhart (eds.), The Cham of Vietnam: History, Society and Art (Singapore: NUS Press, 2011). A considerable number of publications have appeared in Vietnam too. While research on inscriptions and sources written in classical Chinese and Sino-Vietnamese has been almost absent, Vietnamese academia has been active in archeology, architecture and sculpture, ethnology, and so forth.

3) Rainfall in Central Vietnam varies from province to province. The slightest change in rainfall, combined with demographic trends, may have caused serious damage in some regions, given the supposed primitive water control system employed by the Chams. I raise preliminary questions on these issues in “Was Champa a Pure Maritime Polity?” (1998) and “A Short Introduction to Champa Studies” (1999). See also Richard A. O’Conner, “Agricultural Change and Ethnic Succession in Southeast Asian States: A Case for Regional Anthropology,” Journal of Asian Studies 54(4) (1995): 968–996.

4) Victor Lieberman, Strange Parallels (2 vols.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, 2009).

DOI: doi.org/10.20495/seas.10.1_179