Marble Mountains (Vietnamese: Ngũ Hành Sơn; lit. “five elements mountains”) is a cluster of five marble and limestone hills located in Ngũ Hành Sơn District, south of Da Nangcity in Vietnam. The five mountains are named after the five elements: Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth).
All of the mountains have cave entrances and numerous tunnels, and it is possible to climb to the summit of Mt. Thuy. Several Buddhist sanctuaries can also be found within the mountains, making this a famous tourist destination.
The area is famous for stone sculpture making and stone-cutting crafts. Direct rock extraction from the mountains was banned recently. Materials are now being transported from quarries in Quảng Nam Province.
The Museum’s first building was opened in 1919, but many Cham sculptures collected in Da Nang, Quang Nam and elsewhere were brought to the site over the preceding twenty years.
The collection was begun by French archaelogists and experts from L’École Francaise d’Extrême Orient (EFEO). Some artefacts were sent to Paris and others to the Ha Noi and Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City) museums, but many typical objects were left in Tourane (now Da Nang).
The establishment of a Cham sculpture museum in Da Nang was first proposed in 1902 by the Department of Archaelogy of EFEO. Henri Parmentier, a prominent archaelogist of the department, made great contributions to the compaign for its construction. The first building was designed by two French architects. M. Deleval and M. Auclair. The Museum has been extended twice, but the character of the original architecture has been well preserved.
The first extension was in the 1930s, with two new galleries providing display space for the objects added in the 1920s and 1930s. Henri Parmentier directed the display based on the areas where the sculptures were found. The 1000 square metre of floor space was arranged into the My Son , Tra Kieu, Dong Duong and Thap Mam galleries and the Quang Tri, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Kon Tum corridors.
In 2002, the Museum was again extended with the two-storey building provide an extra 1000 square metre. The new building provides space for display, storage, a library, restoration workshop and offices for staff.
Before 2007, the Museum was managed by the Da Nang Museums, and administrative organ in charge of the cities’ museums and heritage. On 02 July 2007, the city authorities affiliated the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture with the City Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism.