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Sap Champa Museum

Free

Address:Sab Champha, Tha Luang, Lobburi 15230 Thailand

Tel:+6644153054

Service day:Everyday, Service hours: 08:30-16:30

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Official description

Many museums make visitors feel like they are travelling back in time through the display of ancient artefacts. The Sap Champa Museum in Lop Buri is one of them since it not only tells of local history but also has ruins of a millennia-old city and a centuries-old forest next door.

This small community museum is located in tambon Sap Champa in Lop Buri's Tha Luang district, about 200km from Bangkok. Visitors will first see a model of the Sap Champa Ancient City's ruins.

Restrictions

Alcoholic beverage, Strong smell food, Children, Pets, Slippers, Short pants, Cameras

Rating

Editorial Reviews

Millennia-old cultural hub

A small museum in Lop Buri tells the story of an ancient city and its fascinating culture

Sap Champa Museum.

Many museums make visitors feel like they are travelling back in time through the display of ancient artefacts. The Sap Champa Museum in Lop Buri is one of them since it not only tells of local history but also has ruins of a millennia-old city and a centuries-old forest next door.

This small community museum is located in tambon Sap Champa in Lop Buri's Tha Luang district, about 200km from Bangkok. Visitors will first see a model of the Sap Champa Ancient City's ruins.

Next is a room depicting the local way of life through the animated paintings of about five local men, such as farmers and a medicine man, along with traditional farming and construction tools.

After that, the visitors will see a small model of the walls and shape of Sap Champa Ancient City which was founded on land covering 350 rai in Moo 7 Village. This city was in an oval shape and surrounded by moats like all other cities of the Dvaravati Period (6th-12th centuries).

Opposite the city plan stands an animated presentation of small aircraft flying over the town of Sap Champa in 1971 when the pilots saw traces of ruins and city moats in this area. Underneath the site are ruins of structures where numerous Buddha images and human skeletons were unearthed. Among pieces of important evidence are stone bracelets, fragments of pottery, Sanskrit-language inscriptions, heads, hands and broken parts of Buddha images, pieces of amulets, the Wheel of Dhamma with a sitting deer sculpture, metal tools and accessories.

Archaeological excavations were started by the Fine Arts Office 1 Lop Buri in February 1971. In 1979, a Westerner wrote an article about a new discovery of a Dvaravai city at Sap Champa and published it in Siam Society Journal in 1982. Around 1982, Assist Prof Mayuree Veeraprasert of Silpakorn University's Faculty of Archaeology presented her doctoral degree thesis on Sap Champa City to Sorbonne University in Paris.

Champi Sirindhorn Forest.

According to the museum's article entitled, "The Importance of Archaeological Resources at Sap Champa", Sap Champa was probably a major spiritual hub on the Lop Buri-Pa Sak river basin given the discovery of sculptures of various Buddhist sects. For instance, a statue of the Lord Buddha being seated upon on Vanaspati, a creature mixing the features of three Hindu gods' carriers, a seated Buddha statue in the Dvaravati style and a Wheel of Dhamma stone with a deer sculpture reflecting beliefs of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.

In addition, Sap Champa was believed to be a trading hub since archaeological excavations found several kinds of objects brought by traders and travellers. They included terracotta amulets depicting faces of some Indian gods, a bronze statue of Chinese goddess Guan Yin, seals depicting a pot of fertility and seals depicting Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Moreover, some goods like foreign-made bronze containers and beads and Indian elephants' ivory bracelets were unearthed.

Also, Sap Champa might have been a major production source of handicrafts on the Lop Buri-Pa Sak river basin because a number of unfinished stone statues and marble and marlstone used in making rings, earrings and necklaces were found here.

Furthermore, Sap Champa was a production source of pottery and might have even been a family-level industry during the Iron Age around 2,500-1,700 years ago because most pottery found here had been made under the throwing method using outdoor kilns. Tools for decorating the surfaces of pottery were also unearthed there. Certain raw materials for producing pottery here, such as clay, were specially prepared, reflecting the use of high technology.

Historical development of Sap Champa Ancient City from the prehistoric times to the Dvaravati Period is mirrored through the next two exhibition rooms which display pottery and ancient artefacts, including Buddha images, seals and beads. Some of the artefacts are reproductions because the original ones are now kept in some national museums.

A reproduction of the Wheel of Dhamma stone statue found at Sap Champa Ancient City.

The last room tells the stories of the nearby Sap Champa Forest, or Champi Sirindhorn Forest, covering 96 rai of land south of Sap Champa Ancient City. In that forest, there are many huge trees, including Champi Sirindhorn.

It is the only magnolia species of the world which can grow in a fresh water swamp forest and is endemic to Thailand. It is a perennial plant that stands 15-25m-tall and produces white flowers that have 12-15 petals each when they first bloom. It also produces 15-25 fruits each.

It was named after HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn after it was first discovered in 1998 and was confirmed in 1999 to be the newest species of plants at that time. If visitors wish to see the real forest, they can just take a short stroll from the museum. Another must-see is the nearby ruins of Sap Champa Ancient City with several sites and traces of structures like stupas.

In one day, visitors will gain knowledge of both history and botany at the museum and enjoy a nature trail in Sap Champa forest.

A model of Sap Champa Ancient City plan.

The Pottery Room.

Location

Sab Champha, Tha Luang, Lobburi 15230 Thailand

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