Try to Identify Funan by Oc Eo culture and ancient annals

  • Phan Huy Lê


The Name "Funan" was mentioned earliest and mainly in Chinese ancient annals. In the 20th century, some French and Western scholars have discovered and studied on some inscriptions steles relating to Funan, but to all of which belonged to later dates latter of the 5th century earliest. Based studies on various sources, such as annals, inscriptions and archaeological materials, as well as consulting published works, I hope to contribute to identifying of Funan as a "state": 1. Genealogy of 14 chiefs/kings of Funan from 1st to 7th centuries. The first king was Lieu Diep (Soma = Moon) and the name of the 14th king was Rudravarman; 2 Kingdom and Empire - An issue that has caused many discussions in studying on Funan, namely the territory of Funan that is relevant to conceptions on Funan state. According to results of archeological studies from 1944 until now, the Oc Eo culture is widely spread over the Mekong delta, or Lower Mekong region.

From historical perspective, I just want to point out the relationship between Oc Eo culture, as it was discovered, and the Funan state in the history. Funan was a Kongdom in the 1st-3rd centuries and became a large empire in Southeast Asia with an influence space which widely spreads over the central region of the Funan Kongdom as well as the space of the Oc Eo culture. Therefore, the Oc Eo culture should be considered as a culture of the kongdom or state of Funan, and not as Funan culture after it became an empire. Funan was a powerful state thanks to sea-oriented economy and trade. From the late of 6th century, Funan was gradually fallen and invaded by Chenla, a state had been a vassal kingdom of Funan formerly. The Funan Kongdom ceased to exist in the early of 7th century. But, the Funan history in common with the Oc Eo culture in the delta of Cuu Long river were a flow that contributed to the common flow of Vietnamese history and culture with the main stream was the Dong Son culture - Van Lang, Au Lac

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