Cham. Goddess Sri, 10th century. Grey sandstone, 32 x 24 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of R.H. Ellsworth Ltd., 1989.147. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1989.147_SL1.jpg)

This sculpture is a lintel of Shri Lakshmi, which would have been located above the main door of a Champa temple. It came from Tra Kieu village, in the present province of Quangnam, a site formerly named Simhapura (the city of the Lion), in the ancient capital of Amaravati in the Champa kingdom.

Tra Kieu village is about 50 km from Danang in the southern province of Vietnam. Most of the characteristic artifacts that were found at Tra Kieu have been displayed in the Danang Museum of Champa Sculpture. The Champa temples were constructed with bricks, combined with decorative sandstone sculptural works. In this lintel dating from the seventh to the eighth centuries, Shri Lakshmi is presented as a goddess who appears popularly in Champa sculpture as well as poetic inscriptions.

The kingdom of Champa was established at the end of the second century. It had many trading centers that spread along the coast of central Vietnam. The main economic base of the Champa kingdom was maritime trade, through which they maintained contact with the commerce and culture of India, China, and the Arabian peninsula.

Text provided by Tran Ky Phuong, Curator, Museum of Champa Sculpture, Danang, Vietnam.