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VO LU M E 2 2 N O.

1 M A R C H 2 0 1 3

the journal of
the asian arts society
of australia

TAASA Review

c o n t en t s
Volume 22 No. 1 March 2013

3 Ed itor ial

TAA S A R E V I E W

Josefa Green, Editor

UN C OVERIN G ALEXA ND ER S LOST CITIES

THE ASIAN ARTS SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA INC.


Abn 64093697537 Vol. 22 No. 1, March 2013
ISSN 1037.6674

John Tidmarsh

Registered by Australia Post. Publication No. NBQ 4134

e di torI A L email: editorial@taasa.org.au


7 LUX URIOUS ABS TRACTION: MOTIF A ND D ESI GN I N KU TC H C O URT E M B ROID E R Y

Jim Masselos

pub l i c at i ons c ommi t t ee

10 T EX TIL E DESIGN S I N STONE : T H E L EGACY O F MEDIEVAL J AVA N E S E S C UL PT UR E

Lesley Pullen

14 T URKEY S HASA NKEYF: T H E P LI GH T O F AR CH A EOLOGI C AL A N D ARC H ITE C T URAL


TREASURES IN SO U T H EA ST A NATOLIA

General editor, Josefa Green

William Gourlay

17 DECODING THE FORBIDDEN DESIGNS IN RAFFLES BATIK COLLECTION

Thienny Lee

20

SOUL OF SIMPLI C I T Y KOR EA N CERA MI CS EXH I BITIO N AT T H E AG N S W

Khanh Trinh

Josefa Green (convenor) Tina Burge


Melanie Eastburn Sandra Forbes Charlotte Galloway
William Gourlay Marianne Hulsbosch
Jim Masselos Ann Proctor Sabrina Snow
Christina Sumner
desi gn/ l ayou t

Ingo Voss, VossDesign


p ri n t i ng

John Fisher Printing

Published by The Asian Arts Society of Australia Inc.


PO Box 996 Potts Point NSW 2011
www.taasa.org.au
Enquiries: admin@taasa.org.au
TAASA Review is published quarterly and is distributed to members

24 AP T: MORE THA N A SP ECTACL E

Anne Kirker

26

C OLLEC TOR S C H OICE : T WO BLUE & W HI T E V I E T N A ME S E C H A R G E R S

John Yu

27

BOO K REVIEW: BA LI N E S E A R T

Niki van den Heuvel

of The Asian Arts Society of Australia Inc. TAASA Review welcomes


submissions of articles, notes and reviews on Asian visual and
performing arts. All articles are refereed. Additional copies and
subscription to TAASA Review are available on request.
No opinion or point of view is to be construed as the opinion of
The Asian Arts Society of Australia Inc., its staff, servants or agents.
No claim for loss or damage will be acknowledged by TAASA
Review as a result of material published within its pages or
in other material published by it. We reserve the right to alter
or omit any article or advertisements submitted and require
indemnity from the advertisers and contributors against damages

28 R EC ENT TAAS A ACTI VITIES

or liabilities that may arise from material published.


All reasonable efforts have been made to trace copyright holders.

30 TAASA Membe r s D iar y: MA R CH 2013 MAY 2013


TAA S A M E M B E R S H I P RAT E S
31

W HAT S ON IN AU STRALIA : MA R CH 2013 MAY 2013

Compiled by Tina Burge

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Rates below are GST inclusive.
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advertising@taasa.org.au
The deadline for all articles
A page from the Design Book of the court embroiderers of Kutch (detail).
Gouache on paper. Photo: Jim Masselos. See pp7-9.

A fu ll In d ex of ar ticles pub l ishe d in TAASA R e vi e w s ince i t s beg i nni ngs


i n 1991 is available on the TAASA web s ite , www.taas a.o rg. au

FOR OUR NEXT ISSUE IS 1 April 2013


The deadline for all aDvertising
FOR OUR NEXT ISSUE IS 1 May 2013

TAA S A c o mm i t t ee

E DITORIAL

G i ll Gr een President

Josefa Green, Editor

Art historian specialising in Cambodian culture


CHRISTINA SUMNER Vice President

Principal Curator, Design and Society,


Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
A NN GUILD TR EASU R ER

Former Director of the Embroiders Guild (UK)


Dy Andr eas en SECR ETARY

Has a special interest in Japanese haiku and tanka poetry


Hwei-fe n cheah

Visiting Fellow, School of Cultural Inquiry, Australian


National University.
JOCE LYN C HEY

Visiting Professor, Department of Chinese Studies,


University of Sydney; former diplomat
M at t Cox

Assistant Curator, Asian Art, Art Gallery of NSW


Charlotte Galloway

Lecturer Asian Art History and Curatorial Studies,


Australian National University, with a special interest
in the Buddhist Art of Myanmar
Jo sefa Gr een

General editor of TAASA Review. Collector of Chinese


ceramics, with long-standing interest in East Asian
art as student and traveller
MIN-JUNG KIM

Curator of Asian Arts & Design at the Powerhouse Museum


ANN PROC TOR

Art historian with a particular interest in Vietnam


Yuk ie S ato

Former Vice President of the Oriental Ceramic Society of


the Philippines with wide-ranging interest in Asian art
and culture
SUSAN SC OLLAY

Is an art historian and curator specialising in the arts of


Islam and in historic textiles. She is Fellow of the Royal
Asiatic Society of the UK.
SAB RIN A SNOW

Has a long association with the Art Gallery of New South


Wales and a particular interest in the arts of China
To dd Sund er man

Former Asian antique dealer, with a particular interest


in Tibetan furniture
M argar et White

Former President and Advisor of the Friends of Museums,


Singapore, with special interest in Southeast Asian art,
ceramics and textiles
Ho n. Au d itor

Rosenfeld Kant and Co


s t a t e r ep r esen t a t i ves
Australian Capital Territory
M ela nie Eastbu r n

Curator of Asian Art, National Gallery of Australia


Queensland
Russel l Stor er

Curatorial Manager, Asian and Pacific Art,


Queensland Art Gallery
South Australia
James Bennett

Curator of Asian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia


Victoria
Ca ro l C ains

Our first TAASA Review for 2013 is a general


issue which offers a large variety of topics,
but which has a strong textile flavour.
Three articles explore various textile topics.
Jim Masselos dips into his as yet unpublished
research undertaken in the 1980s on a
wonderful leather bound design book used
as a kind of catalogue by the last Kutch court
embroiderers in northwest India. It was held
at the time in the government museum in
Bhuj and provides a unique insight into the
compositions and motifs used by over four
generations of embroiderers whose practice
terminated when the Kutch royal family lost
dominance post independence.
In her article Textile Designs in Stone, Lesley
Pullen examines the textile designs carved on
five Javanese statues dating to c. 1300. Given
the paucity of records and inscriptions, these
designs provide important information on
where and when these and other statues were
made and the kinds of textiles that could have
been in existence during that period. A study
of these designs may also be able to highlight
the continuity and disappearance of designs
over time.
Staying in the same region, Thienny Lee
discusses two batiks now held in the British
Museum - part of the collection of Sir Stamford
Raffles, which he amassed while Lieutenant
Governor of Java and the Dependencies from
1811 to 1816. She challenges current views
on the origin of these designs as well as how
these cloths came into Raffles possession.
Following on from the preview in the
December TAASA Review of the Alexander the
Great exhibition at the Australian Museum,
John Tidmarsh reports on current or recent
excavations of a number of sites in present
day Jordan, Afghanistan and Syria where
Hellenistic cities were established following
Alexanders defeat of the Persian empire. John
is currently co-Director of the excavations at
Jordan and Syria.
Another area of great archaeological and
architectural richness which is currently
under threat is discussed in William
Gourlays article on Hasankeyf, a township in
southeastern Anatolia in Turkey. He outlines
the many historically important treasures
which will be destroyed should the Turkish
Government forge ahead with its Ilsu dam
project, not to speak of the displacement of
some 60,000 people and the inundation of
around 2000 sites in the wider region.

Two current exhibitions are reviewed in this


issue. Opening this month is an exhibition of
Korean ceramics at the Art Gallery of NSW
generously lent to the Gallery by the Museum
of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka. Khanh Trinh,
Curator of Japanese and Korean Art at the
AGNSW, provides us with a brief history
of the development of Korean ceramics in
the Goryeo and early Joseon periods, and
explains how the 38 pieces on show provide
us with outstanding examples from these
two major periods when Korean ceramic art
reached its pinnacle.
One of the most significant art events in
Australia - the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of
Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery
- was covered in the December TAASA
Review. In this issue, Anne Kirker, who was
involved with the first four APTs as a curator
at QAG, offers her reflections on how the APT
should be seen, not only as a spectacle but
also as ongoing event which has had a critical
and lasting influence on QAGs collection
practices. You can still catch APT7 in Brisbane
until 14 April.
Two of our regular items should hopefully
be of interest to our readers. In Collectors
Choice, John Yu discusses two charming
Vietnamese blue and white ceramic plates in
his collection. In our Book Review, Niki van
den Heuvel discusses Adrian Vickers new
major and beautifully presented publication
on Balinese Art.
We have a larger than usual section on TAASA
matters in this issue. This is partly because
a number of events from the end of last
year occurred too late to be included in the
December issue. TAASA events for the new
year are highlighted on p30, including what
should prove to be a stimulating symposium
From Beginner to Expert on 9 March. TAASA
is also very pleased to announce the long
awaited launch of a TAASA Ceramics Study
Group, with its first event scheduled for
Thursday 4 April from 6 8pm.
Finally, we do have some important matters to
report. One is the well deserved award of an
OAM in the recent Australia Day honours to
our Vice President, Christina Sumner to whom
TAASA offers heartiest congratulations. On a
sadder note, we offer our best wishes to past
President Jackie Menzies for an exciting next
career as she steps down from her position as
Head of Asian Art at the AGNSW.

Curator Asian Art, National Gallery of Victoria International

U N C O V E RI N G AL E X A N D E R S LO S T C ITI E S
John Tidmarsh
Pella, Jordan. Uncovering the Hellenistic levels. Photo: John Tidmarsh, 2011

n the course of his 11 year conquest of the


Persian Empire (334323 BCE), Alexander
the Great was said to have founded some 70 cities;
subsequently his general and founder of the vast
Seleucid empire, Seleucus Nicator (r. 312281
BCE), established a further 60 or more. Whilst it
is probable that these numbers are exaggerated
- undoubtedly many (or most) of these so-called
foundations were already settlements in their
own right prior to Alexanders conquests - it
is certain that during Alexanders campaigns
and the Hellenistic period that followed, a large
number of Macedonians and other Greeks
came to settle (voluntarily or otherwise) in the
lands which stretched from the shores of the
Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush. It remains
striking, therefore, that despite these numerous
foundations and the large influx of Greeks into
the Levant and the lands beyond, our knowledge
of Hellenistic cities in the East (particularly
of their earliest phases) is so meagre. Even the
greatest of Alexanders poleis, Alexandria-inEgypt, has revealed few traces of its Hellenistic
remains which lie largely hidden beneath the
modern city.

The majority of settlements founded by


Alexander and Seleucus Nicator would seem
to have been established within the territory
of the Seleucid empire which, at first, extended
from the Levant and the Aegean coast of
Turkey as far east as the Punjab. In their earliest
phases many would have served as garrisons,
occupying strategic positions on important
trade routes, river crossings or rich farmland,
or keeping watch over potentially restive native
populations. Over time, as a result of the changes
which accompanied the marked shrinkage in
territories held by the Seleucids, it seems that
many of these garrison sites were abandoned
and their location forgotten. On the other hand,
some seem to have grown in size, becoming
fully fledged towns or cities in their own right
whose life extended well beyond the Hellenistic
years. In many cases this has resulted in the
original Hellenistic foundation being all but
obliterated as a result of the extensive building
work carried out in subsequent periods.
Such is the case at the University of Sydney
excavations at Pella in Jordan where the
remarkable sequence of some 10,000 years of
almost uninterrupted occupation on the main
tell has made the important Hellenistic levels
difficult to isolate, as they lie underneath
extensive Byzantine and Islamic building
(Tidmarsh 2002).

To the south of the main tell, on the very


prominent hill of Tell el-Husn, several ceramic
lamps of Athenian manufacture and dating to
the late 4th century or early 3rd century BCE
have been recovered from mixed deposits,
suggesting the presence of at least a small
settlement or garrison on Husn during those
early years before the widespread 2nd century
BCE occupation on the main mound itself.
In this regard it is worth noting that Pella
(the capital of Macedon and birthplace of
Alexander) was clearly a Greek adaptation of
the former name - Pihil or Fihil - of the Jordanian
city which is mentioned in Egyptian texts as far
back as the 2nd millennium BCE. The practice of
giving such settlements the names of important
Macedonian towns seems especially common
among Alexanders generals, most of whom
were of Macedonian origin. The presence on
Tell el-Husn of later structures which need to be
preserved, in particular an extensive Byzantine
fortress, makes it unlikely that this probable
garrison, even if its position is located, will ever
be completely uncovered.
Much further to the east, in modern
Afghanistan, a chance find in 1961 near the
modern village of A Khanum led to the
discovery of what, in its earlier phase, was
probably a military outpost established on
the left bank of the Amu Darya river (the
ancient Oxus) during Alexanders campaigns
or by Seleucus soon after. It was founded on
this site probably to control access to both

the fertile plain (already under irrigation in


Achaemenid times) and mineral resources
nearby. Its ancient name is still uncertain
although Alexandria-on-the-Oxus remains a
distinct possibility. Uniquely, it was founded
on a virgin site and not re-occupied after
its inhabitants had been driven out by
nomadic incursions from the east just after
the mid-2nd century BCE. Thus, for the first
time, archaeologists had the opportunity to
investigate a purely Hellenistic settlement
lying close to the surface and not subjected to
destructive over-building.
Excavations between 19651978 by a French
team led by Paul Bernard, then Director of
the Dlgation Archologique Franaise en
Afghanistan (DAFA), unearthed an expansive
palace and treasury, an arsenal, a theatre, a
very large gymnasium (dedicated to Heracles
and Hermes) as well as two temples, several
private houses and the mausoleum of a
certain Kineas, probably the first governor
of the city (Bernard 1982). Most of these
structures lay within an imposing mudbrick
wall strengthened by towers which projected
some 10 metres from the wall itself. The
presence of the extensive palace along with
evidence that the city later minted coins of
Greco-Bactrian rulers indicates that, at least in
its later phases after Bactria had broken away
from the Seleucid empire, A Khanum served
as a royal city. It is possible that its name
was then changed to Eucratidaea, capital of

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

A Khanum, Afghanistan. Corinthian capital in palace courtyard

Bactria during the long reign (c.170145 BCE)


of the powerful Eucratides.
The architecture of the city, along with its small
finds and inscriptions, reveals an intriguing
amalgam of Greek and Eastern influence. For
example, the main sanctuary (the temple with
niches) with its high podium, exterior niches,
and tri-partite cella (inner chamber) bears
no resemblance to Greek temple architecture
yet marble fragments recovered from within
suggest that it housed a cult statue of Zeus in
Greek style. The palace itself was constructed
to a mainly eastern plan but included Greek
details such as terracotta antefixes, a pebble
mosaic with typical Macedonian star pattern,
and a huge courtyard lined by columns with
Corinthian capitals. The few inscriptions on
stone or on ceramic vessels recovered from
A Khanum are in Greek, which was probably
the language of administration; the names
of the administrators themselves are either
Greek or, less commonly, Bactrian.
Despite some 13 years of excavation, much of
the city still remained to be uncovered when
the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979
brought work at A Khanum to a premature
close. Tragically, the site has now been all but
destroyed by some 30 years of constant looting.
On a rocky outcrop (Jebel Khalid) towering
some 100 metres over the right bank of the
Euphrates River in northern Syria, Australian
archaeologists are currently unearthing a
city which bears a number of similarities to
A Khanum, not least the fact that it too was
founded on a virgin site and, with the exception
of a very small late Roman encampment, was
not re-occupied following its (seemingly
peaceful) abandonment around 70 BCE (Clarke
et al., 2002). Furthermore, as with A Khanum,
its ancient name is still uncertain. The lower
courses of its beautifully constructed headerand-stretcher ashlar fortification wall (some
3.4 kilometres on the landward side) are still
in place while, in oblique light, the outlines of
the city lying just beneath the modern surface
and arranged on a Hippodamian grid plan can
easily be discerned - a tantalizing prospect for
any archaeologist!
Under the direction of Emeritus Professor
Graeme Clarke (ANU), Dr Heather Jackson
(University of Melbourne) and, more recently,
myself (University of Sydney), excavations
have been in progress since 1987. Over this
time an imposing Governors Palace perched
high on the Acropolis and protected by its
own fortification wall, a rather squat Doric
temple (surrounded in its latest phase by
a ring of sacrificial altars), and a complete
housing insula have been uncovered, while

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

numerous graves (unfortunately mostly


robbed) outside the walls to the west of the
city have been investigated. Work is currently
under way to expose an impressive palaistra
(a characteristically Greek small gymnasium
providing both sporting and educational
facilities) and a possible market area further to
the north. At present, numismatic and ceramic
evidence suggests that Jebel Khalid was
founded not by Alexander but by Seleucus
Nicator, no doubt to guard this strategic
crossing point on the Euphrates River.
The Governors Palace on the Acropolis
was planned around a central courtyard,
embellished with a Doric colonnade and
possible formal garden, and contained large
banqueting halls or audience chambers
(flanked by kitchens and service rooms), an
open area for religious ceremonies (complete
with a standing drum altar surrounded by
deposits of ash and animal bone), administrative
rooms, and even a washroom with adjacent
toilet trough. It is likely that both the north
and south wings supported upper-level rooms
which would have provided accommodation
for the governors family and important guests.
Many of the palace rooms were adorned with
painted plaster usually in plain red, black,
ochre, white or green; in several of the larger
rooms, however, more ornate patterns imitating
veined marble or depicting vegetal or geometric
designs were employed.
To the north of the Acropolis was situated
the temple, positioned to impress the visitor
either arriving through the Main Gate to the
west or, particularly, from the river to the east
(the remains of stone quays are still visible

on the shoreline). Although many of its stone


blocks were robbed in antiquity and in more
recent times, enough remains to show that
the temple was flanked by six columns on its
east and west sides with fragments of column
capitals, metopes and triglyphs attesting to
its Doric order. The columns were, however,
unusually squat and this, along with the
absence of guttae and mutules (architectural
features usually present on Doric temples)
and the almost square, tripartite cella show
that although superficially Greek, the temple
was by no means canonical. Fragments of a
large (cult?) statue (in high-quality Parian
marble) as well as a smaller limestone head of
a male with fillet and earring have also been
recovered from within the temple; it remains
unclear as to whom the temple was dedicated.
Further to the north, some 1000 metres from
the Acropolis, on a south-facing slope and
thus protected from the cold north winds of
winter, a block or insula (dimensions 90x35m)
of houses was laid out early in the life of the
settlement before being substantially modified
in the later 2nd century BCE. The walls, some
still preserved to a height of nearly two metres,
were mainly of stone with, for the more
important rooms, doorposts of tall vertical
stones and stone thresholds. Floors were of
tamped earth or crushed limestone. In some
instances, the rooms had an interior plaster
coating (usually of plain red) while within a
large room, in seemingly the most important of
the houses, were recovered fragments of a fine
plaster cornice with egg-and-dart moulding
together with painted fragments which, when
reconstructed, depict a continuous frieze of
Erotes driving goat chariots.

Jebel Khalid, Syria. The Domestic Insula (the Euphrates River in the background). Photo: Bob Miller, 2005

Jebel Khalid, Syria. The Domestic Insula. Painted frieze


fragment: Goat pair. Photo: Bob Miller

As yet, no inscriptions on stone have been


found. Of the numerous examples of graffiti
and dipinti (usually scratched or painted on
ceramics) and stamped amphora handles from
the city, the great bulk are in the Greek language
and script. Two of the 6 painted inscriptions
(dipinti) on locally made jars are, however, in
Aramaic lettering with Semitic (rather than
Greek) names while several stamped handles
also bear Semitic names but in a Greek script.
These examples of Aramaic script or names were
recovered from the later phases of occupation at
the site suggesting (as does the evidence from
the terracotta figurines and pottery) a growing
interaction between the Greek colonists and
indigenous population for whom Aramaic
would have been the lingua franca.
Although not all of its 50 hectare area seems to
have been occupied - part of the site seems to
have served as a quarry for the stone utilized
in its fortifications and buildings - there is no
doubt that many important structures remain
to be unearthed. Currently, excavations have
been suspended due to the on-going troubles
in Syria but once work resumes the ensuing
seasons at Jebel Khalid should provide us
with a unique insight into how those early
foundations of Alexander and his generals in
the East were planned and settled.

John Tidmarsh is President of the Near Eastern


Archaeological Foundation of the University of
Sydney and co-Director of the excavations at Pella in
Jordan and Jebel Khalid in Syria.

REFERENCES
Bernard, P., 1982. An Ancient Greek City in Central Asia,
Scientific American 246, no. 1, 148159.
Clarke, G.W. et al., 2002. Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates I. Report
of the Excavations 19861996, Mediterranean Archaeology
Supplement 5, Sydney.
Jackson, H., 2006. Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates II. The Terracotta
Figurines, Mediterranean Archaeology Supplement 6, Sydney.
Jackson, H & Tidmarsh, J., 2011. Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates III.
The Pottery, Mediterranean Archaeology Supplement 7, Sydney.
Rapin, C., 1990. Greeks in Afghanistan: A Khanum in
Descudres, J-P. (ed.), Greek Colonists and Native Populations
: Proceedings of the First Australian Congress of Classical
Archaeology Held in Honour of Emeritus Professor A.D. Trendall,
Sydney, 9-14 July 1985,Canberra, 329342.
Tidmarsh, J., How Hellenized was Pella in Jordan in the Hellenistic
Period? Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan VIII
(2002), 459-468.

Jebel Khalid, Syria. The Domestic Insula. Painted frieze


fragment: Eros. Photo: Bob Miller

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

L U X U RIO U S A B S TRA C TIO N : M OTI F A N D D E S I G N I N K U T C H C O U RT E M B ROID E R Y


Jim Masselos

mong the finest achievements in Indias


textile tradition is embroidery from
the former princely state of Cutch, Kutch
or Kachchh as it was officially spelt after
independence. Embroidery was and still
is commonly practised in small towns and
villages in this northwestern region where
women work at their embroidery in odd spare
moments, creating items that are vigorous,
full of energy and characteristically of Kutch.
Paralleling such distinctive praxis were other
customary embroidery styles, in particular
embroidery patronised by the royal court in
the capital city of Bhuj before independence
in1947. The court valued fine detail in
embroidery, meticulous technique and a
brilliantly rich and colourful palate. It was not
created by the ladies of the court for whom,
unlike their royal sisters in Europe or indeed
equivalent royals in the Punjab hill states,
embroidery was neither a hobby nor a means
of self-expression or relaxation. Instead the
court viewed embroidery much as it regarded
other fine and decorative arts, as something
to purchase, enjoy, and signal the courts taste
and eminence.

The court purchased fine quality embroidery


from professional male embroiderers and
their family units in Bhuj. By caste they were
leatherworkers or mochis who according to
tradition had learnt their art from a Muslim
fakir from Sind, perhaps in the 17th century or
earlier (Postans 1839: 175, 272-3; Gazetteer1880:
125-6). They later transferred to cloth their
expertise in stitching on leather with a special
needle, an awl or ari. The result was finely
detailed embroidery that properly became
famous, being sought after not only by the
Kutch royal family but nobles, merchants and,
from the 19th century, by new patrons, British
civil servants (Irwin and Hall 1973).
Buyers exercised patronage in various ways.
They would buy embroidery from stock,
from bundles of finished cloths taken to the
court zenana for the women to make their
selection (the late Maharani of Kutch 1982).
What the royal women chose influenced
the work brought them in the future and
perhaps affected the choices made by other
women in the capital. Even from their zenana
royal women were arbiters of public taste.

Other patrons might directly commission


items outside the embroiderers experience
or tradition: so a British official might order
a coat of arms or regimental colours, and his
wife a tablecloth; or a nationalist sympathiser
in the 20th century might order a portrait of
Gandhi (Nanalal Jethabhai 1982). On occasion
a patron living outside Bhuj in one of the
coastal ports would bring an embroiderer
to his household for several months to work
under supervision (Swali 1982). Usually
however embroiderers worked in their own
quarter of Bhuj. From there they were easily
available to execute whatever commissions
came their way, ready to work on anything
ranging from banners, court regalia, fans,
and bolsters through to the staples of skirts,
blouses and shawls.
When a patron commissioned new embroidery
the process might start with the embroiderer
producing samples of past work from stock, or
he might bring out sample cards or the family
book of designs. The cards had small pieces
of embroidery stuck or stitched on to them
one card might have a selection of borders of

A PAGE FROM THE DESIGN BOOK OF THE COURT EMBROIDERERS OF KUTCH. GOUACHE ON PAPER (FIG. 1). PHOTO: JIM MASSELOS

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

A PAGE FROM THE DESIGN BOOK OF THE COURT EMBROIDERERS OF KUTCH. GOUACHE ON PAPER (FIG. 2). PHOTO: JIM MASSELOS

leaves or vines, another of flowers and shrubs


and so on. The design book was more elaborate
and contained page after page of drawings of
patterns the embroiderer could reproduce.
A design book and, to a lesser extent since they
were not so comprehensive, the sample cards
summarised the essence of the art of the court
embroiderer. They were records of forms, and of
variations within those forms. They delineated
the basic vocabulary of the embroiderer, its
preoccupations and parameters, but excluded
unusual commissions.
A design book from the family of the last
Kutch court embroiderers survived in the
government museum in Bhuj where I studied it
in the early 1980s. It had belonged to the family
of Mr Nanalal Jethbhai whom I met. They had
stopped practising embroidery in 1948 after
patronage had dramatically declined when the
British left and the royal family of Kutch lost
dominance following independence. As for
the design book, he thought it had been begun
around the mid-19th century and said that four
successive generations of court embroiderers
from his family had contributed to it.
The book is a simple leather bound volume
containing sheets of paper covered with
freehand drawings. It has no clear structure
or organising principles nor is there any
indication of when a particular pattern was
created. There are no modern or ostensibly
western or similarly aberrant patterns. There
is no indication of any changes over time or of
any impact on the embroiderers vocabulary
of special commissions. Rather, the pages
of designs provide information about basic
matters, the range and idiom of designs liked
by clients. Presumably the patterns served as
an archive for the embroiderers, aide memoirs
of work done in the past and their usual
repertoire. The book suggests the contours
of their creative universe through constituent
parts of their finished items.
The design book is precisely that - a collection
of designs. Most are composites that aggregate
components into single motifs. Thus a sole
page (fig.1) shows variations of a single
leaf, though there are many other leaves in
patterns throughout the book. Other simple
basic elements like vines, petals and buds
appear only in composite designs: though
relatively simple in their structure, they are
still capable of apparently infinite variation,
as the book shows in column after column of
patterns. Furthermore, as basic elements in
the embroiderers vocabulary, these simple
composites are deployed as modules, motifmodules in larger aggregations that form even
more complex and elaborated compositions.

Motif modules themselves are relatively


simple. Among the simplest in the book is
shown in fig. 1 where the patterns hardly
make any distinction between open flowers
and circles one moves into the other with
an ease and fluency that highlights the
technical virtuosity of the court embroiderers
draftsmanship and the bravura confidence
of their control over shapes and patterns.
The page also contains twigs with buds, tiny
flowering shrubs and the paisley mango
seed shape that the book calls buti. There are
also variations of geometric designs based
on a diamond shape or continuous lines of
Vs (referred to as ler) that create a crenulated
effect some women embroiderers in the
countryside still use in their work and liken
to waves in the sea, castle battlements or lines
of temple spires.
Such motifs are distinguished from others
by various combinations of dots, vines,

leaves, petals, whatever. These variations


do not disguise the dominant form nor are
they disguised when the butis become more
elaborate as in those on the left of fig.1. The
same applies to the flower, wheel or star motifs
in other examples. Even complex designs
formed from aggregated motifs need not have
an independent existence in the completed
embroidery but may be used repeatedly in the
overall embroidered field. There are elaborate
shrubs (zad), flowering shrub and paisleyshaped buti that, in enlarged form, are variously
called buto or buta in the book. Thus shrubs (zad)
have more leaves, more sets of branches, and
more flowers than the tiny flowering shrubs or
twigs of the buti. Zad may even acquire pairs of
parrots or suitably decorative peacocks. In some
instances designs are achieved by repeating
simpler design elements: a large embroidered
wheel may contain smaller wheels or smaller
buti; flowers are repeated and subordinated to
the larger design.

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

TWO PAGES FROM THE DESIGN BOOK OF THE COURT EMBROIDERERS OF KUTCH. GOUACHE ON PAPER. PHOTO: JIM MASSELOS

When the design book presents embroidered


items - topi (hats), skirts (ghagharo), blouses
(kapadha), bolsters and cushions, fans, rumal
(decorative squares of cloth), umbrellas and
ceremonial objects - the pattern relates to the
items shape. A rumal has embroidered edges
with a dominant central motif and an axis that
is often vertical, while a bolster may present
a field of butis arranged in orderly rows over
the cloth so as to create a sense of fullness and
richness. Skirts may have several rows of motifs:
in one instance a row of peacocks and a row
of maidens in profile, each with a nose ring.
The rows fill the cloth above the borders and
counteract the linearity of the hem border (fig.
2). More complicated blouses similarly repeat a
motif, like a buti, in serial order horizontally, and
in doing so they also suggest a sense of diagonal
placement. Blouses usually have border
embroidery and central medallions on either
side. Some of them in addition feature on the
left arm an elaborate strip module motif, called
bajuband. The term is used in Kutch for an upper
arm silver and gem armlet, here recreated by the
embroiderer in thread form on blouse pieces.
The range achieved by the repetition of motif
modules is enormous and the visual impact
of their lushness can be stunning, especially
when every available space on a cloth is filled
in with embroidered designs. Whether they
have any symbolic meaning is another matter.
The designs are in part representational in
that they relate to natural objects to living
plants, buds, flowers, shrubs, and occasionally
animals (parrots, peacocks) as well as people,
usually women in this genre of embroidery. But
they easily move into symbolically auspicious

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

geometric forms into circles, diamonds, stars


and swirling suns. Significantly, the design
book does not contain examples of elephants
nor of Lord Krishna, though published
examples of such court embroideries feature
both. One interesting page does have an
auspicious eight-pointed star, Surya the sun
god and Chandra the moon god, Lord Shiva,
a deer, a lotus and two separate cows. Clearly
the embroiderers could produce religious and
symbolic imagery if required, though it would
seem not often needed given their paucity in
the design book.
Most of the effort of the embroiderers was
presumably channelled into creating works
that satisfied secular needs. Through the sheer
impact of their rich lustrousness, they exude
connotations of prosperity and power and a
sense of undifferentiated auspiciousness. And
all this through the luxurious deployment of
idealised and abstracted organic designs.
The embroiderer was not trying to create
realistic depictions of flowers, shrubs, vines etc
but rather their essence. It is not a particular
peacock that the embroiderers present but
the idea of a peacock, its essence perhaps
but even more the ideas associated with
peacocks, connotations of richness, lushness,
other worldly beauty, colour all pleasant
notions aroused by the regularity of the
pattern, the richness and sheen of the colours
and the contours of the design. They become
picturegrams evoking pleasurable responses.

of the patterning and the juxtaposition of


motif elements, combined with its allusion
to an organic world. Starting with an initial
representationalism, it creates its own range of
abstraction and elaboration, its own luxuriant
universe of the senses and emotions.
The author took the photos reproduced here of pages
from the Design Book of the court embroiderers of
Kutch in February 1982 with the permission of Mr
Vaidya, the officer in charge of the Kutch (Gujarat
state) museum where the volume was then held.
As the book was said to have been built up over
the course of slightly under a century from the mid
1800s it is not possible to provide specific dating for
any of its pages from the current available evidence.
Jim Masselos FAHA is Honorary Reader in History at
the University of Sydney. Thames and Hudson recently
published his edited volume The Great Empires
of Asia and Ravi Dayal and Penguin Books, India
recently reprinted his co-authored Beatos Delhi 1857
and Beyond while Roli books have also produced a
second edition of his co-authored Bombay Then and
Mumbai Now.

REFERENCES
Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, Vol.V, Cutch, Palanpur, and
Mahi Kantha. 1880. Govt. Central Press, Bombay.
Irwin, J. and M. Hall, 1973. Indian Embroideries. Vol.II.
Ahmedabad, Calico Museum of Textiles.
Jethabhai, Mr Nanalal, the last of the embroiderers to the Kutch
court. Meeting. Feb. 1982. Bhuj, Kutch.
The then HH the Maharani of Kutch, Rajendra Kunver. Meeting.
Feb. 1982. Bombay.
Postans, Marianna, 1839. Cutch; or Random Sketches London,
Smith, Elder & Co.

The particular quality of Kutchi court


embroidery lies in the open-ended rhythms

Swali, Mr Charandas. Meeting. March 1982. Mundhra.

T E X TIL E D E S I G N S I N S TO N E : T H E L E G A C Y O F M E DI E V AL J A V A N E S E S C U L P T U R E
Lesley Pullen

STATUES OF PRAJNAPARAMITA C.1300. (L) FROM MUARAJAMBI, JAMBI, SUMATRA, STONE, 80CM (H). ON-SITE MUSEUM,
CANDI MUARAJAMBI, SUMATRA, INDONESIA. PHOTO: L. PULLEN (R) FROM CANDI E AT CANDI SINGOSARI, MALANG, EAST JAVA, STONE, 1.26M (H).
MUSEUM NASIONAL, JAKARTA. IMAGE AFTER J. FONTEIN SCULPTURE OF INDONESIA, HARRY N. ABRAMS, NY 1990

extile designs in stone appear in great


detail on the sculptures of the Hindu
Buddhist Singasari period of east Java.
The designs appear in the greatest variety
during the reign of King Krtanagara
(r. 1268-1292 CE), a king known for his
patronage of esoteric texts and practice. Five
sculptures will be discussed in this article:
two guardian figures and a statue of Durga
were found at Candi Singosari, in east Java
built by King Krtanagara, the last king of the
Singasari dynasty. The fourth sculpture, of
Prajnaparamita, was found at the now extinct
Candi E at Candi Singosari. The fifth sculpture,
also of Prajnaparamita, was excavated in 1975
at the Muarajambi Buddhist temple complex,
which spreads over 7.5 kilometers on the left
bank of the Batang Hari River, in Jambi, east
Sumatra. In the 11th century, Muarajambi was
one of a number of esoteric Buddhist sites on
the island, an important religious center of the
Malayu kingdom c.11th-13th century (Miksic
2010: 260, 25). All five images have been dated
to c.1300.

The Prajnaparamita in Muarajambi remains


in situ in the small site museum, whereas
the Singosari Prajnaparamita sculpture,
first seen in 1819 by the Dutch, was taken
to Holland in 1820, where it was deposited
in the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in
Leiden (Brandes 1909: 26). In1978 the statue
was returned to Museum Nasional in Jakarta.
Four remaining sculptures found at Candi
Singosari are of Nandisvara, Mahakala,
Durga mahishasuramardini, and Ganesa,
all of which display textile designs on both
lower and upper body garments. These four
sculptures (three of which are discussed in
this article) were also taken by a Dutch scholar
in 1804 to the Rijksmuseum in Leiden.
Up until now, there has been a general
agreement that stylistic comparison of the
two Prajnaparamita images based on their
ornaments, and the way the garments fold over
the statues crossed legs indicates production
by the same hand in the same place and period
(Reichle 2007). This view suggests that both
images were the product of Singasari and that
the Muarajambi image might have been a gift
from King Krtanagara to the court of Malayu
in Jambi. The sculptures are stylistically similar
and dressed in cloth carved in relief in an
intricate pattern of repeat roundels, yet the
patterning of the cloth worn by each image is
quite different.

10

(L) DETAIL OF SASH ON THE MUARAJAMBI PRAJNAPARAMITA. (R) DETAIL OF SINGOSARI PRAJNAPARAMITA
DEPICTING THE KAIN AND OVERLAYING SASH. PHOTO: L. PULLEN

The present article suggests an alternative


interpretation based on analysis of the design
pattern, contending that the Muarajambi image
may have been made in Jambi in the likeness
of the Singosari Prajnaparamita of East Java.
The hypothesis fits well with historical views
of the affinities between Sumatra and east Java
stemming from Javanese political authority
over southeast Sumatra during this period
(Lieberman 2009: 793; Tarling 1999: 217) .

She sits in sublime meditation on a double


lotus base, upon a square platform with a
perfectly framed backslab.

Prajnaparamita is the goddess of transcendental


wisdom. In Indonesia she is commonly
depicted seated cross-legged in the lotus
position, or padmasana with her two hands in
front of her chest in dharma-chakra (or teaching)
mudra. A lotus flower stalk twists around her
left arm with its open bloom supporting the
book, the symbol of knowledge. The image
at Muarajambi is damaged, without a head
or arms and without a lotus base or backslab,
whereas the image from Candi Singosari is
almost undamaged apart from broken fingers.

Lack of records and inscriptions have made


research in relation to Java and Sumatra
problematic: sculptures such as these remain as
a legacy of the textiles that could have been in
existence during that period. Both images are
decorated with two cloths, the kain or cloth used
as a sarong which lies in folds on the base, and
a sabut or sash which is wrapped around their
crossed thighs and ties in a large bow at the side.

Both images are depicted richly adorned, each


with upper arm bands, bracelets, a necklet and
anklets. They display a crisply detailed belt and
long twisted chain of a triple string of beads or
upavita around the neck which falls over their
folded legs to the asana or base.

The image of Singosari has the same pattern on


the sash as the cloth or kain. The cloth displays

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

NANDISVARA, C.1300, STONE, 1.74M (H) FROM THE TOWER-TEMPLE AT CANDI SINGOSARI,

MAHAKALA, C.1300, STONE, 1.70M (H), FROM THE TOWER-TEMPLE AT CANDI SINGOSARI,

EAST JAVA. RIJKSMUSEUM VOLKENKUNDE, LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS. PHOTO: L. PULLEN

EAST JAVA. RIJKSMUSEUM VOLKENKUNDE, LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS. PHOTO: L. PULLEN

a motif of concentric circles with an infill


diamond shape both of which depicts an
image of an open double vajra. The circles
display a central motif which depicts a
stylised lotus surrounded by what could be
the symbol of the ruyi, a talisman symbolising
power and good fortune in Chinese culture.
The section of the sash that falls over the side
of the lotus cushion and on the visible section
of the bow at the side of the body also displays
a double vajra motif. (Thompson and Simcox,
pers.comm., Nov 2012).

The sculptures of Nandisvara and Mahakala


are both guardians of the tower temple at
Candi Singosari and representations of Siva
in different forms. The tower temple is all
that remains of Candi Singosari today, seen
as Sivas residence and the symbol of Mount
Kailasa (Brandes 1909: 33).

The kain and the sabut on the Muarajambi


image depict quite different patterns to that
of the Singosari image. The kain is made up
of a simplified version of concentric circles
(not visible in the illustration) with a stylised
lotus in the centre. The sash of the Muarajambi
image on the other had depicts a very realistic
carving of a lotus flower within a scrolling vine
motif; the technical virtuosity is unique.

Nandisvara is the two armed benign image


of Siva. His kain is fastened with a big pouchshaped knot and falls to his ankles, he wears a
wide jewelled band or diadem tied at the back
with ribbons over a pointed crown. The upper
bodice which is joined at the front is reminiscent
of the type of garment worn by Cham soldiers
depicted in relief on the walls of Angkor Wat
and the Bayon, dated to the 12th and 13th
centuries. The pattern on his bodice represents
a small lotus flower within square bands or
rantai or chains, the kind of motif which is very
similar to the present day supplementary weft
technique in the Malay world known as songket.

It is quite probable that the two Prajnaparamita


were not made by the same hand or indeed in
the same workshop as they display distinctly
different patterning. This conclusion is
significant, because until this period there
remain no known images which are carved
in such detail with such obvious esoteric
Buddhist motifs on either Java or Sumatra.

The plain sash worn across Nandisvaras


upper body may be a version of the sacred
thread or upavita, quite a distinctive feature
often depicted on Tibetan Buddhist images, but
this is more likely to be just a sash of the type
seen on a number of Indian images (Pal 2001:
99). There was collaboration between Tibetan
scholars and Indian Buddhist monks in the

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

Pala-Sena period of the 8th to 12th centuries


CE, and the many missionaries that travelled
between India and Sumatra and Java during
this period (Schroeder von 2008: 70-84) . The
kain on Nandisvara is decorated with a pattern
identified today as kawung, a pattern made
up of intersecting concentric circles which
can also be perceived as a four petal flower.
Kawung is a batik motif used as a larangan or
restricted pattern in the courts of Surakarta and
Jogjakarta since the 17th and 18th centuries.
Mahakala on the other hand is described as the
destroyer, a representation of Siva in his second
principal form. He stands with his right hand on
a short heavy sword and his left hand resting
on a large club. His kain reaches to his knees
and is fastened with a wide sash or belt. It is
carved in relief with the kawung pattern; the size
of the design is larger than that on Nandisvara.
He also wears a short-sleeved upper body
garment, which may reflect the militant
nature and function of its wearer. It is roughly
contemporaneous with similar examples in
Cambodia and Myanmar (Chutiwongs 2004:
109). The pattern on the bodice represents foliate
scrolls and lotus roundels depicted in horizontal
rows, a motif very reminiscent of Yuan Chinese
designs on ceramics and cloth. These affinities in
the patterning of textiles show influences from
China and an esoteric Buddhist tendency is

11

DURGA MAHISHASURAMARDINI, C.1300, STONE, 1.75M (H), FROM THE TOWER-TEMPLE AT CANDI SINGOSARI,
EAST JAVA. RIJKSMUSEUM VOLKENKUNDE, LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS. PHOTO: L. PULLEN

were traded into Java and Sumatra in huge


quantities, they are not necessarily the direct
source of inspiration for these carved patterns.
There has clearly been a transmission of
culture reflected in the motifs carved on these
sculptures, whether from China or India
remains open to discussion - and certainly
a local interpretation of these imported
motifs. This article suggests this developed
in the context of interchange with Tibet and
Yuan China as well as with the art of Pala and
Sena in eastern India (c.750-1200). Ideas and
designs on a range of objects were transmitted
via Buddhist missionaries to Java and
Sumatra, and vice versa. For example, in east
Java silk cloth in brocade was being woven
in this period which was undoubtedly used
locally and subsequently exported to China
and to the Khmer court (Green 2007:442).
A further study of the textile designs on early
sculptures in present day Indonesia, such as
the five examined in this article, will provide a
rich source of evidence for a number of issues.
These include where and in what period these
and other sculptures were made and the
influences on textile designs depicted on such
sculptures. A detailed study of the carved
textiles will also highlight the continuity and
disappearance of designs and the cultural and
religious changes that may have affected this
corpus of material.
The author is the Co-Tutor of the Southeast Asia
module of the Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS, London.
This paper forms part of the authors on-going
research degree with the Department of History of Art

visible in the patterns of all these five sculptures,


especially in both Prajnaparamita statues and
that of Durga (Kinney 2003: 144-46).
The image of Durga mahishasuramardini is
depicted with an open stance. Kempers notes
that: for a Javanese women this is a very
rude attitude (Bernert Kempers 1933: 80).
The statue is damaged - all her attributes have
broken off and disappeared, her shield alone
remaining. The treatment of the garment is
where the biggest differences lie. In India the
statues of Durga are generally presented with
a smooth loincloth and sometimes engraved
with a pointed chisel. Here the entire surface
of Durga has been changed into a richly
decorated piece of textile, and the Javanese
sculptors work appears to resemble a
moulders work compared to the Indian
sculptors, which appears more painterly
(Bernet Kempers 1959: 80).The upper bodice
depicts a pattern of lotus roundels, also visible
on the outer garment on the lower body which
reaches to her knee. The kain reaching to the
ankles displays a geometric pattern with lotus
roundels within the squares.

12

This type of layout is very reminiscent of a


songket from the Malay world today, where the
rantai (chains) and the centre bunga (flower)
are identical (Inam Selvanayagam 1990). A
richly decorated belt encompasses her waist,
over which she wears a rope or upavita in the
form of a snake. Symbols of esoteric imagery
are evident in the skulls which are placed in
her piled hair. She has elaborate ornaments
on the neck, arms, wrists and ankles, while
various waist bands secure her sarong. The
detailed depiction of the ornaments on the
small image of the demon Mahisa and on
the recumbent buffalo contributes to this
sumptuous image. The origin of her attire is
hard to attribute to any one tradition, with its
mix suggesting western Indian, Yuan Chinese
and Malay motifs, yet the overall style remains
totally unique in extant Indonesian sculpture.
To consider the potential inspirations for the
decoration of textile patterns on these five
sculptures enables us to assess the balance
of local and imported design influences in
subsequent Indonesian textiles. Even though
Indian cotton and silk textiles no doubt

and Archaeology, SOAS, London.

REFERENCES

Bernert Kempers, A.J, 1933. The Bronzes of Nalanda and HinduJavanese Art, late E.J.Brill Ltd, Leiden.
Bernet Kempers, A.J., 1959. Ancient Indonesian Art, C. P. J. van der
Peet, Amsterdam.
Brandes, J.L.A., 1909. Beschrijving van Tjandi Singasari
[microform)]. s-Gravenhage: M. Nijhoff; Albrecht & co, Batavia.
Chutiwongs, N., 2004. Candi Singasari-A Recent Study, in
I.C.Glover, E.A. Bacus, and P.D.Sharrock (ed.), Interpreting
Southeast Asias Past, Monument Image and Text , British Museum:
NUS, 100-21.
Green, G., 2007. Angkor Vogue: Sculptured Evidence of Imported
Luxury Textiles in the Courts of Kings and Temples, Journal of the
Economic and Social History of the Orient, 5, 424-51.
Inam Selvanayagam, G., 1990. Songket Malaysias Woven
Treasure, Oxford University Press, Singapore.
Kinney, A.R., 2003. Worshipping Siva and Buddha, The Temple Art
of East Java, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Miksic, J., 2010. The A to Z of Ancient Southeast Asia, The
Scarecrow Press Inc, Plymouth, UK.
Miksic, J., September 2010. The Buddhist-Hindu Divide in
Premodern Southeast Asia, Nalanda-Srivijaya Centre, Working
Paper Series No.1.
Pal, P., 2001. Desire and Devotion, Art from India, Nepal and Tibet,
ed. The Walters Art Museum Philip Wilson Publishers, Baltimore.
Reichle, N., 2007. Violence and Serenity, Late Buddhist Sculpture
from Indonesia, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Schroeder von, U., 2008. 108 Buddhist Statues in Tibet, Chichago:
Serindia Publications Inc.
Tarling, N (ed.), 1999. The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia,
Volumne, From early times to c.1500, Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge.

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

T U R K E Y S H A S A N K E Y F : T H E P LI G H T O F AR C H A E OLO G I C AL
A N D AR C H IT E C T U RAL TR E A S U R E S I N S O U T H E A S T A N ATOLIA
William Gourlay
he Tigris and the Euphrates, the rivers
of ancient Mesopotamia, rise in the
southeast of Anatolia, a remote corner of
Turkeys Asian hinterland. Designated the
Fertile Crescent, this is also a region where
peoples and civilisations have long clashed,
coalesced and overlapped. The result of
millennia of human interaction is a complex
cultural patchwork and a stunningly diverse
archaeological and artistic legacy on display
at multiple sites across the region.

Travellers to present day Turkey tend to be


conversant with the imperial grandeur of
Istanbul and, on Turkeys western littoral,
the relics of Classical antiquity at sites
including Ephesus, Troy and Pergamum. The
southeastern corner of the country, however,
remains little known and little visited. Closed
to foreigners until the 1950s and largely
off limits during the 1980s and 1990s as
the Turkish government waged war on the
separatist PKK, southeastern Anatolia has
received scant international attention.
On an easterly flowing stretch of the Tigris
is the township of Hasankeyf, one of

southeastern Anatolias most remarkable sites.


Thought to have been populated for 10,000
years, Hasankeyf has long been regarded as
frontier territory (Bolz 2009). It sits on the edge
of the Anatolian uplands, south of which lie
the deserts of the Syrian plain. The Romans
fortified it as the boundary of their Asian
territories; beyond lay the Persian realm. The
Byzantines established a bishopric here in
the 4th century CE. After being enveloped by
the expansionary armies of Islam in the 7th
century, Hasankeyf remained a regional hub in
the contested borderland between Turkic, Arab
and Persianate spheres until being definitively
claimed by the Ottomans in the 16th century.
All of these competing dynasties and empires
left behind monuments that contribute to the
architectural richness of the town.
This convoluted history may go some
way towards explaining the contrasts and
paradoxes with which Hasankeyf abounds.
Near the edge of modern Turkish territory,
this is a town that is now populated largely by
Kurds. History is everywhere but is swamped
by the tackiness of modernity: electrical wires
cut across a skyline punctuated by venerable

minarets; cheap plastic seats and tables are


arranged against aged, finely-cut ashlar
walls; a recess adorned with muqarnas (tiered,
pointed masonry niches) becomes a repository
for firewood; minarets are embellished with
the most intricate tracery of Kufic calligraphy
and are abutted by cheap souvenirs stalls. In
these juxtapositions and contradictions it is
like so many towns in Turkeys southeast
ramshackle, chaotic, unsightly in parts, but
buzzing with an undeniable vitality.
Hasankeyfs most significant contradiction
is that it boasts a wealth of architectural
and archaeological treasures, legacy of its
lengthy history, yet it apparently has no
place in the Turkish present. Former seat of
Byzantine bishops, Ayyubid emirs, Artuklu
and Akkoyunlu beys, designated a natural
conservation area in 1981 by the Turkish
Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hasankeyf is
slated to disappear under the waters of the Ilsu
dam project. The Ilsu is part of the Southeastern
Anatolia Project (Turkish: Gneydou Anadolu
Projesi, GAP), a decades old development
initiative intended to raise income levels and
living standards. In the official view, this is

TIGRIS RIVER, HASANKEYF, TURKEY REMAINS OF ARTUKLU BRIDGE (1116) IN FOREGROUND PHOTO: WILLIAM GOURLAY

14

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

El Rizk minaret (1409) Hasankeyf, Turkey

Zeynel Bey Trbesi (1473) Hasankeyf, Turkey

Photo: William Gourlay

Photo: William Gourlay

the stone bluff that rises above the Tigris, the


site of Hasankeyf Citadel. The El Rzk Mosque
(1409) was built by the Ayyubids, who wrestled
control from the Artuklu emirs in 1232 and
who were descendants of perhaps historys
best-known Kurd, Saladin. The mosque itself
is not particularly noteworthy, but its minaret
commands the eye of travellers approaching
the town from the west. Slim, pencil-like, it is
topped with a storks nest. Local Kurds refer
to the storks as hajjis, as they arrive from the
south, from the direction of Mecca (Garen
& Carleton 2008). The biscuit-golden ashlar
masonry of the minaret is intricately worked
with latticework and teardrop and vegetal
ornaments, rare in Turkey.

the northern edge the so called Byk Saray


(Greater Palace). This vantage point, above
a precipitous drop to the Tigris far below,
affords breathtaking views of its surroundings
and of historic buildings in the narrow streets
of the township. In combination, the broad
valley, the sweep of the river, the distinctive
architecture and golden stonework mark
Hasankeyf as a spectacular and special site.

more important than the architectural and


archaeological wealth of the town.
Perhaps the most noteworthy of Hasankeyfs
artefacts lies just outside the town, on the north
bank of the Tigris. The Zeynel Bey Trbesi is a
domed tomb revealing Persianate and Central
Asia design influences dating from the reign
of the Akkoyunlu (White Sheep) Turkmen
confederation. It was built in 1473 by Uzun
Hasan, emir of the Akkoyunlu, for his eldest
son Zeynel, killed at the battle of Otlukbeli.
The tombs interior plan is octagonal with a
transition to the rounded base of the dome.
Its exterior is cylindrical, with an arched door
on the north side, constructed of brick and
decorated with a diagonal, geometric pattern
of glazed turquoise and navy blue tiles. Rivals
to the Ottomans for control of Anatolia, the
Akkoyunlu ruled a domain that extended
across what is now eastern Turkey and Iran
through the 15th century: the Zeynel Bey
Trbesi with its sturdy form and combination
of apricot-coloured brick and deep-blue tiles
would not appear out of place in Iran and is
unlike any other tomb in modern Turkey.
Straddling the Tigris are the remnants of a
bridge built by the Artuklu Turks in 1116.
The bridge is reputed to have been the largest
in Turkey during the medieval period; all
that now remains are two massive stone
pillars and, on the northern shore, a stone
arch. Of rubble construction clad with ashlar
stonework, the piers bear severely weathered
carved figural reliefs, thought to have been
of the signs of the zodiac. At 40 metres apart
the piers were once spanned by a timber
arch, which could be raised or removed, thus
protecting the town from attack (Sinclair 1987:
22). Today the piers stand like the severed legs
of some almighty behemoth amid the swirling
waters of the Tigris.
On the southern shore of the river stands the
main settlement of Hasankeyf. The river is
now crossed on a modern concrete bridge,
constructed in the 1950s, but when the traveller
and writer Gertrude Bell passed through in
1911 she was forced to cross on a raft loaded
with saddles and packs, with her horses
in tow. Photographs of her Tigris crossing
(which she described as exhilarating) and
of various of the towns architectural sites
are held in the Gertrude Bell Archive at the
Newcastle University Library in the UK.
Bells photographs illustrate that much of the
building stock of modern Hasankeyf has been
constructed in the last century. Nonetheless,
the defining features of the town remain those
that Bell observed. Most eye catching is the
minaret of the El Rzk Mosque, and beyond it

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

Beyond the El Rzk Mosque, in the


southwestern corner of the settlement on a
bluff above the Tigris, Hasankeyf Citadel has
lorded it over the town since the 4th century.
Established by the Byzantines in 363, it was
built upon by successive conquerors. The
citadel, which has been closed to visitors
since late 2012, is reached via a steep course
of limestone steps which passes through four
gates. The Artuklu emirs used this as their
stronghold and capital from 1101 until 1232
at which point the Ayyubids arrived (later
to be toppled by the Mongols). A sprawling
expanse, the citadel reveals various features
in varying states of disrepair. Noteworthy
are the main gate, bearing an inscription
in the name of Ayyubid Sultan Sleyman;
the domed and vaulted Kk Saray (Small
Palace); tombstones inscribed with elaborate
Kufic lettering in several locations; a mint
used by Artuklu and Ayyubid rulers, and on

Should the Ilsu dam proceed, waters of the


Tigris will rise 200 feet. On its promontory,
the citadel would remain above the water
level, but the tomb of Zeynel Bey, the Artuklu
bridge and the lower town would suffer the
fate of Atlantis, with only the upper portion of
the El Rzk minaret emerging. In its entirety,
the dam would flood more than just the
township of Hasankeyf. Professor Zeynep
Ahunbay, of Istanbul Technical University,
has recorded that 2000 sites will be affected by
the dam: Hasankeyf is the most visible and
representative of all, due to its picturesque
location and rich architectural content. It is
one of the best preserved medieval sites in
Turkey. (Bolz 2009)
Such concerns have not gone unnoticed.
The progress of the Ilsu project has been
considerably delayed due to ongoing
controversy about the fate of Hasankeyfs
architectural heritage and its citizens. In 2000,
the British company initially awarded the
contract to construct the dam pulled out due
to international opposition. A consortium of
European backers was subsequently formed,
but in late 2008 they too temporarily withdrew
funding due to concerns raised about the

15

GRAVESTONES, HASANKEYF CITADEL, TURKEY (PROBABLY AYYUBID,EARLY 15TH CENTURY) PHOTO: WILLIAM GOURLAY

impending destruction of cultural heritage


as well as lack of adequate compensation or
planning for the significant numbers of locals
who would be forced to move should the dam
go ahead.
Resistance to the dam from within Turkey has
been ongoing since the projects inception. The
residents of Hasankeyf itself are reported to be
almost universally opposed to the inundation
of their hometown. Including surrounding
villages, it is estimated that up to 80,000
people will be displaced (Garen and Carleton
2008). Members of Turkeys Doa Dernei
(Nature Society) mounted a campaign against
the dam, in so doing garnering scientific
opinion that suggested that Hasankeyf should
be added to the UNESCO World Heritage
list. The Nature Society also gathered a list
of signatures of almost 60,000 people, among
them internationally renowned Turkish
singer Tarkan and Orhan Pamuk, Turkeys
only Nobel-Prize winner. The signatures were
presented to Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdoan in the hope that he would
support an application to UNESCO for world
heritage status for Hasankeyf (Doan 2010).
Such hopes proved to be in vain. The
Turkish government has since secured
funding and forged on with Ilsu, and
until recently it appeared that Hasankeyfs
days were numbered. Indeed, other dam
projects in southeastern Turkey have already

16

displaced local communities and claimed


archaeological sites, albeit not as significant
as Hasankeyf. The Roman-era mosaics of
Zeugma were only saved from inundation
by the damming of the Euphrates when they
were shifted to a museum in Gaziantep, and
the minaret of Savaan Ky has become
a tourist attraction as it emerges forlornly
from the emerald waters of the Birecik dam.
In these instances it would seem that the
government prioritises the benefits of regional
development (the likelihood of which remain
disputed in the case of Hasankeyf) over the
concerns of local residents and the historical
and archaeological heritage of the region.
The government has proposed moving some
of Hasankeyfs monuments, a suggestion
dismissed as impractical by archaeological
experts; further, to replace these treasures on
a site nearby would hardly recreate the drama
and atmosphere of Hasankeyf as it currently
exists (Bolz 2009).

that the Ilsu is stalled, however, bearing in


mind similar halts to the project in the past,
locals remain fearful that any immediate
celebration may be misplaced. To lose
Hasankeyf would be an ineffable tragedy, so
it is to be hoped that the benefits of retaining it
in its entirety are recognised and the demands
of its residents are listened to.

By the end of 2012, progress on Ilsu dam had


gathered such momentum that, as reported
in the Turkish press, a group of international
sculptors agreed to create in Hasankeyf
marble sculptures that would be inundated as
the waters rose to claim the town. However, in
January 2013, the Turkish State Council ruled
in favour of a case brought by the Chamber
of Architects and Engineers claiming
that the project did not have the requisite
environmental clearances. For now, it appears

Hasankeyf, Todays Zaman, 18 April 2010

Further information can be found on Hasankeyf


Matters (http://www.hasankeyfmatters.com), which
also includes a link to a petition addressed to the
UNESCO World Heritage committee.
William Gourlay was formerly commissioning editor
for Turkey and the Caucasus at Lonely Planet and
is currently undertaking a PhD researching Turkish
cultural and ethnic identities at Monash University.

REFERENCES
Bolz, Diane M., 2009. Endangered site: the city of Hasankeyf,
Turkey, Smithsonian, Volume 39 (12)
Dogan, Yonca Poyraz. Civil society keeps up challenge to protect

Garen, Micah and Marie-Hlene Carleton . Deep divide,


The Financial Times Magazine, 22 March 2008.
International Council of Monuments and Sites, Turkey in Heritage
at Risk: World Report 2006-2007, ICOMOS, Paris pp154-164
Sevinlidir, Pnar, 2009. Historic sites damned: the Turkish
governments plans to flood two ancient towns, History Today,
Volume 59 (2)
Sinclair, T. A., 1987. Eastern Turkey: an architectural and
archaeological survey, The Pindar Press, London.

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

DECODING THE FORBIDDEN DESIGNS IN RAFFLES BATIK COLLECTION


Thienny Lee

PARANG DESIGN BEFORE DYEING PROCESS.


AFTER J.L. LARSEN, 1976. THE DYERS ART; IKAT, PLANGI, BATIK.
LITTON EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING. P114

PARANG DESIGN AFTER DYEING PROCESS

CONTEMPORARY BATIK WITH PARANG RUSAK DESIGN, JAVA.

PARANG (KNIFE)

his paper examines two important batik


textiles held by the British Museum
(BM). The most famous of the carefully
guarded Central Javanese Royal batik Parang
designs are found on these batiks collected
by Sir Stamford Raffles, who was Lieutenant
Governor of Java and the Dependencies for the
duration of the brief British interregnum from
1811 to 1816. During this time, Raffles sent
home a number of batik pieces, unfortunately
destroyed when the ship that carried them
burned at sea. A second shipment arrived
safely. In 1939 two pieces of batik, the focus
of this paper, were donated by his family to
the Museum of Mankind in London (Helen
Ishwara et al 2012:18) and are now held in the
BM. They probably arrived with the second
shipment or were brought back by Raffles
himself. By exploring these two batiks in
detail, I question 200 year old views on the
origin of these two designs as well as how the
carefully guarded forbidden batik designs of
the Central Javanese royal courts came into
the hands of Sir Stamford Raffles.

Batik is a textile using wax resist decoration


technique which became a major form of artistic
expression in Southeast Asia, particularly in
the Indonesian archipelago. It was used as the
preeminent vehicle for demarcating social status
and for embedding religious beliefs in local
Indonesian context. Unlike woven textiles, batik
provides near limitless design scope within
the confines of the fine lines that can be drawn
directly with a canting, a tool made of bamboo
handle and copper spout containing hot wax.
Among the enormous variety of batik designs,
those produced in Central Java are considered
the epitome of classical batik, especially those
created during the 18th century by Surakarta
and Yogyakarta kratons (courts). These two
principalities of the Islamic Kingdom of
Mataram (1582 1755) are regarded as the
twin capitals of classical batik. The princely
families of Mataram were the great driving
force behind the development of these
designs, some of which are rooted in the
ancient Javanese culture and Hindu-Buddhist
civilisations of the Majapahit Empire, and
evident on the clothing of deities carved on
Javas historical temples (Van Roojen 1993:41).
These classical designs have undergone changes
in the course of time, but within the bounds of
an evolving tradition. They are characterized
by a narrow colour range dominated by deep

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

COURTESY T. LEE

blue or indigo and a somber brown known as


soga. With the original crme hue of the cloth,
this led to the threesome of crme, indigo
and brown: colours so distinctive of Central
Javanese batik. Originally these colours were
derived organically from the leaves of the
indigo plant (blue) and tree bark (brown);
chemical colours are widely used today.
It was in the kratons of Surakarta and Yogyakarta
that the eight renowned Larangan or forbidden
motifs were designed and produced exclusively
for court use, in particular after decrees
announced in 1769, 1789 and 1790 (Fraser Lu
1986:57). These designs were believed to be
talismanic of royalty: allowing others to use the
designs might weaken royal power (Kerlogue
2004:32). Each design contains a large variety
of visual elements drawn from nature, religion,
local myths, and other cultural sources. Some
Larangan batik designs incorporate Hindu and
Buddhist religious references. Under Islamic
court rule they also inherited the tradition of
prohibiting anthropomorphic representation
which forbids the portrayal of animal and

human forms. The resulting abstract designs


however are filled with visual metaphors.
Their hidden meanings were obscure outside
the royal 18th century courts; and remain so,
today.
For many decades scholars have been trying to
decode the original meanings of these visual
metaphors but a consensus theory has yet to be
established. According to Boow: the meaning
expressed in a batik pattern is rarely verbalised
(Boow 1988: 94). She came to realise during
her years of study that it is almost impossible
to correctly assess and decode all the multiple
levels of Central Javanese forbidden batik.
Jasper and Pirngadie concluded that the
meaning of the patterns lies in the names
and argue that the labelled names of specific
batiks are symbolic (Boow 1988: 94). Kerlogue
however counters their argument, suggesting
that the name may be discernible in the motif
which may bear no relation to its ancient
meaning. In short, to this day the pursuit of an
accurate interpretation of the motifs of these
forbidden designs remains complex.

17

TWO SARONGS DECORATED WITH PARANG BATIK DESIGN. JAVA, INDONESIA. 19TH CENTURY. COTTON. LEFT: 218CM (L) X 118CM (W).
RIGHT: 234CM (L) X 85CM (W). FROM THE COLLECTION OF SIR STAMFORD RAFFLES. THE TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM

The generally accepted eight larangan motifs


in use on kraton batik were Kawung, Parang,
Parang rusak, Cemukiran, Sawat, Udan Liris,
Semen, and Alasalasan (McCabe Elliott 2004:68).
In this article, I examine two of the most
famous forbidden designs - Parang and Parang
rusak. The two batiks that Raffles brought back
to England feature the larangan Parang designs
and are considered to be some of the earliest
surviving items of Javanese batik.
Parang refers to a diagonally arranged design
or garis miring. More than 40 variants of
Parang batik designs are known; all of them
feature a series of broad light-coloured bands
bound by undulating or scalloped edges. A
Parang is one of the most ancient weapons in
the Malay world, a long-bladed hard edged
knife with handle. Parang batik designs have
therefore become associated with knives,
fighting and war. If this assumption is correct,
then a design that generates power was
naturally reserved for the sultans family. But
seeing a Parang knife in the batik of Parang
design is not necessarily obvious at all.
Although the sketches of the Parang before the

18

dyeing process may appear knife-like, this is


lost following multiple dyeing processes
Parang Rusak is another diagonally arranged
design and a softer version of the Parang
pattern. Rusak in Malay means damaged
or broken and Parang rusak literally means
broken dagger. The main difference between
Parang and Parang rusak is that Parang has
straight lines running down from the scallop
shaped head, whereas Parang rusak has wavy,
undulating lines. What is broken is not clear.
It is difficult to grasp why royalty would
consider a broken dagger an important
symbol. One legend holds that Prince Panji of
Java was once saved by the protective powers
of Parang rusak (Kerlogue 2004:74).
Some scholars have suggested that a broken
dagger signifies enemy destroying (McCabe
Elliot 2004:68) but there is no evidence for
this. Leo Chu proposes, perhaps fancifully,
that both diagonal designs are so arranged for
camouflage. He states: The use of the parang
rusak pattern might be seen to relate to the
environmental conditions of Indonesia which

has a tropical rainforest climate experiencing


convectional rain everyday and producing
diagonal lines everywhereDuring a rainy
day, the patterns help to camouflage the
wearer into the diagonal lines produced by the
rain, which confirm the notion that they come
from the supernatural world. (Chu 2010:16).
He proposes no evidence for camouflage
being used during the 18th century however.
During a recent visit to Danar Hadi Batik
Museum in Surakarta, my informant,
Mr Najib Nugroho, guide at Danar Hadi
museum, offered a different and somewhat
romantic interpretation. According to him,
the word Parang used in this context is
not from the Malay term parang meaning
dagger but originates from the Javanese word
pereng meaning slope, specifically referring
to the slope of coral reefs by the shore. In
the Javanese English dictionary [http://
kamusjawa.info/], pereng is translated as
slope and steeply sloping riverbank or
mountain side which appears to match
Mr Najibs explanation. Also, in Robson
and Wibisonos Javanese English Dictionary

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

(Periplus 2002) two meanings for parang are


given: cliff and knife.

north coast producers (Van Roojen 1994:81;


Ishwara, Supriyapto Yahya & Moeis 2012:26).

Najib also suggests Parang rusak was created by


the first king of Mataram, Panembahan Senopati,
when he was meditating on the southern coast of
Java. Whilst watching the waves break over the
standing coral, he was amazed at the slope of the
coral reefs, crushed by the waves of the ocean. It is
from here that the Javanese term rusak meaning
broken may be derived. This is articulated by
the more wavy design of the Parang rusak which,
unlike the Parang design, consists of rows of steep
slopes. This Javanese interpretation may prove
to be a more robust explanation than long held
scholarly interpretations that decode a knife. And
there are indeed several coastal areas which have
long stretches of coral reefs along the shorelines
of the South Java Sea named Parang Kusuma,
Parang Tritis and a district of Parang Gupito in
southern Wonogiri.

For centuries, the seaports of the northern


Javanese coast (known as Pasisir), have acted
as maritime trading centres and attracted
merchants and settlers from India, China and
the Arab world. It is important to note that
Pasisir coast batik designs had less ancient
symbolic value than those of Central Java,
partly due to the absence of a strict court
culture. While Central Java adhered strictly to
traditions, the more dynamic Pasisir constantly
developed new designs, introducing vivid
colours of chemical dyes and incorporating
foreign elements, including Indian, Chinese
and European.

In 1816 one of Raffles aides recorded in his


journal that he had received from a Yogyakarta
Prince the gift of a batik cloth: such as is
worn by the royal family (Kerlogue 2004:32).
To date, it has generally been assumed that
these are the two batik cloths which are now
housed in the British Museum, featuring the
forbidden Parang designs.
From the journal entry, Kerlogue surmises
it is likely that they were a gift from the
court. The language used here is however
ambiguous: it could be inferred that the batiks
were similar to those worn at court rather
than actual royal court cloth. They could be
of batik designs that looked akin to what the
royal family was wearing, especially to the
uninitiated eye. One must at least question
why an early 19th century Yogyakarta Prince
would present these exclusive designs to a
British Governor who had not only captured
Java but also reduced the Sultan to a kind of
civil servant in the British colonial system.

Early Pasisir batiks show a strong influence


from imported Indian textiles. Tumpal (triangle)
designs for instance are most likely rooted in
India. However, the division of batik sarong
into kepala and badan sections is essentially
north coast Javanese as observed by many
writers. Curiously, what survives of Raffles
two pieces of batik in the British Museum bears
the courtly Parang design (not the Parang rusak
design as the BM, in my opinion, incorrectly
suggests), combined with the kepala section of
Tumpal design. Thus, these textiles could be
linked to the Pasisir district of Java rather than
the courtly Kratons of Central Java. We know
these two batiks possibly came in through the
second shipment that Raffles sent home, so we
cannot even be certain that they were the pieces
referred to by Raffles aide. Alternatively,
Raffles may have had copies made of the two
forbidden Parang designs, perhaps somewhere
on the north coast of Java. The mystery of the
origin, as well as the meaning of Raffles two
batik cloths need further exploration.
Thienny Lee is a PhD candidate at the University of
Sydney. She studied in England at the University of
Hertfordshire and gained an MA in the History of Art and
Archaeology from the University of London (SOAS). She

Furthermore, the batik design layout on both


cloths in the BM collection is highly unusual.
The use of Kepala Tumpal designs (triangles
pointing towards each other) is not common
for courtly batik designs of that era. On
the Javanese north coast, at some distance
from the Central Javanese sultanate courts,
batik sarongs (cloth with both ends sewn
together to form a tube) were separated into
sections called kepala,papan and badan.
Kepala or head forms about one third of the
cloth and is worn in the front. Papan is the
border at each side of the kepala. Badan or
body makes up the rest of the cloth which
is draped at the back. Some writers observe
that the development of kepala designs is an
interesting innovation exclusive to Javanese

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

is currently undertaking a PhD in dress and visual identity


of the Straits Chinese in the former Straits Settlement.

REFERENCES
Boow, Justine, 1988. Symbol and Status in Javanese Batik. Asian
Studies Centre, University of Western Australia.
Chu, Leo, 2012. The Forbidden Pattern - Operation of Patterns in
Space, unpublished paper.
Fraser-Lu, Sylvia, 1986. Indonesian Batik: Processes, Patterns and
Places. OUP Australia and New Zealand.
Ishwara, Helen, Supriyapto Yahya L.R. & Moeis Xenia, 2012. Batik
Pesisir, An Indonesian Heritage, collection of Hartono Sumarsono,

MADAGASCAR: ISLE OF
BIODIVERSITY
22 May 14 June 2013
Archaeologists believe that people first arrived in
Madagascar from Indonesia and Malaya about 2000
years ago. Before this, Madagascar evolved over
millions of years in isolation. The result is a country
like no other, an incongruous mixture of wildlife
and culture with an unparalleled array of plants
and animals found nowhere else. Dr Steven
Goodman, resident since 1989, recognised
expert in Malagasy biodiversity and perhaps the
countrys finest field biologist, is our program leader.
Limited places available.
Land Only cost per person twinshare
ex Antananarivo $7200

INSIDE BURMA: THE ESSENTIAL


EXPERIENCE
25 October 13 November 2013
Burma is undergoing unprecedented change and
publicity. Few people have immersed themselves
as deeply here as TAASA contributor Dr Bob
Hudson. His longstanding annual Burma program
features extended stays in medieval Mrauk U,
capital of the lost ancient kingdom of Arakan (now
Rakhine State, currently off-limits) and Bagan,
rivalling Angkor Wat as Southeast Asias richest
archaeological precinct. Exciting experiences in
Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay and a private cruise
down the mighty Ayeyarwady are also included.
Now is the time to see Burma before 'progress'
changes it forever. Limited places available.
Land Only cost per person
twinshare ex Yangon $5200

CAMBODIA: ANGKOR WAT,


PREAH VIHEAR AND BEYOND
28 October 14 November 2013
Angkor and Preah Vihear, temples of immense
historical and political significance for the Khmers,
possess a timeless grandeur and generate
unforgettable travel memories. Yet Cambodia
offers a host of other important cultural and travel
experiences: outstanding ancient,vernacular and
French colonial architecture; spectacular riverine
environments; the ongoing revitalisation of Phnom
Penh; interesting cuisine and beautiful countryside.
Expatriate museologist, author, Siem Reap resident
and TAASA contributor Darryl Collins and Gill
Green, President of TAASA, art historian and author
specialising in Cambodian culture have designed
and co-host this longstanding annual program.
Land Only cost per person
twinshare ex Phnom Penh $4900
To register your interest, reserve a place or for
further information contact Ray Boniface

H E R I TA G E D E S T I N AT I O N S
N AT U R E B U I L D I N G S P E O P L E T R AV E L L E R S

KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia), Jakarta.


Kerlogue, Fiona, 2004. Batik: Design Style & History. Thames &
Hudson; Illustrated Edition.
McCabe Elliot, Inger, 2004. Batik: Fabled Cloth of Java. Periplus
Editions/Berkeley Books Pty Ltd; New Edition.
Van Roojen, Pepin, 1993. Batik Design. Pepin Press.

PO Box U237
University of Wollongong NSW 2500 Australia
p: +61 2 4228 3887 m: 0409 927 129
e: heritagedest@bigpond.com
ABN 21 071 079 859 Lic No TAG1747

19

S O U L O F S I M P L I C I T Y K OR E A N C E RA M I C S E X H I B ITIO N AT T H E A G N S W
Khanh Trinh
MELON-SHAPED EWER WITH INCISED DESIGN OF LOTUS SCROLLS, GORYEO PERIOD, 1100s,
CELADON, THE MUSEUM OF ORIENTAL CERAMICS, OSAKA (GIFT OF THE SUMITOMO GROUP)

imely in conjunction with the start of


the seollal festivities, or Korean Lunar
New Year, the AGNSW opened an exhibition
Soul of Simplicity Seven centuries of Korean
ceramics on 8 February, 2013 in the Lower
Asian Galleries. The 38 objects in this show
are drawn from the outstanding collection of
Korean ceramics of the Museum of Oriental
Ceramics, Osaka (MOCO).

Founded in 1982 by the city of Osaka to house


the extensive Ataka collection of Korean and
Chinese ceramics, purchased and donated to
the city by the Sumitomo Group, MOCO has
since expanded its collecting and research
activities and is today arguably one of the
most recognised centres of display and study
of Oriental ceramics worldwide. In compliance
with the Museums mission, MOCO has
organised numerous thematic exhibitions
for various Japanese and North American
museums that has helped to promote a
deeper understanding of the excellence of
Korean ceramics on an international stage
since the early 1990s. From 2000 onwards, the
Museum has also started ongoing long-term
loan programs for overseas institutions, most
notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
York and the Museum of Asian Art, Berlin.
The AGNSW is the first public institution
in the southern hemisphere to benefit from
MOCOs generous overseas loan programs.
For a period of 15 months (until April
2014), the Australian public will have the
opportunity to explore the diversity and
unique aesthetics of Korean ceramics through
a thoughtfully curated show that features
outstanding examples from the two major
periods during which Korean ceramic art has
reached its pinnacle, namely the Goryeo (9181392) and Joseon (1392-1897) periods.
Lasting for over four centuries, the Goryeo
dynasty is widely acknowledged as the age
of enlightenment in Korean history. Under
the patronage of the court aristocracy,
whose penchant for elegance and luxury
was unmatched, culture and the arts
flourished, and the field of ceramics in
particular experienced an unprecedented
phase of creativity. Celadon ware is the
most representative of ceramics made in the
Goryeo period. Beside China, where this
particular glaze was first developed, celadon
appeared only in Korea and a few areas in
Southeast Asia.

20

Goryeo celadon is made of clay containing


a small amount of iron, coated with a glaze
that contains 2 to 3 percent iron, and fired in
a reducing (de-oxidising) environment at a
temperature of 1150 to 1300oC. In the early
stages of development, Goryeo celadon
displayed a greyish-green glaze similar to the
more well-known southern Chinese Yue wares
produced in the 9th and 10th centuries. Also,
the shapes of the vessels and their standard
decorations were strongly indebted to Chinese
prototypes. By the mid-12th century, however,
Goryeo potters and patrons began to evolve
an independent, native aesthetics epitomised
by a preference for clean form, subtle bluegreen glaze and unpretentious but vibrant
designs. The luminous beauty of Korean
celadon attained such perfection in the 12th
century that even Chinese visitors commented
on it enthusiastically. In his Illustrated record
of the Chinese Embassy to the Goryeo court
during the Xuanhe Era (Xuanhe fengshi Gaoli
tujing) the Song envoy Xu Jing (1091-1153),
who travelled to Korea in 1123, noted the
similarities of Korean celadon and the Ru ware
manufactured in the imperial kilns in northern
China. Bestowing on them the superlative
of being the first under Heaven, Xu praised
the distinctive glaze of Goryeo celadon as
possessing the radiance of jade and the crystal
clarity of water (It/Mino 1991: 27).

Goryeo celadon is distinguished in three main


categories: monochrome, inlaid and painted
underglaze. With monochrome celadons,
the glaze is a more significant feature than
the decoration. Sometimes delicately carved
or incised floral motifs further enhance the
striking beauty of the lustrous jade green
glaze. One of the most important inventions
in Goryeo ceramics, however, is the inlay
technique known as sanggam. Inspired by
the intricate lacquer wares with mother-ofpearl inlays and metalwork objects with silver
and gold inlays that were popular in the 12th
century, Goryeo potters developed a method
in which the designs are first carved out on
the semi-dried clay body and the recesses
filled with either white or red iron-rich clay.
A transparent glaze was then applied over
the entire vessel. When fired, the white clay
remained white, while the red clay turned
black. The overall effect is a lively yet
harmonious balance between the exquisitely
rendered floral, figural or animal motifs in
black and white tones that appear like inlays
in the subtle jade-green celadon background.
The sophistication and subdued elegance
of sanggam celadon is unrivalled in celadon
production worldwide.
Other imaginative methods of surface
decoration involved the use of iron or copper

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

BOTTLE WITH OVERALL SLIP COATING AND PAINTED IRON-BROWN


DESIGN OF FLOWERING PLANTS, JOSEON PERIOD, SECOND HALF
OF 1500s, BUNCHEONG WARE, THE MUSEUM OF ORIENTAL

RECTANGULAR PILLOW WITH INLAID DESIGN OF PEONIES AND CRANES, GORYEO PERIOD, 1200s,

CERAMICS, OSAKA (GIFT OF THE SUMITOMO GROUP)

CELADON, THE MUSEUM OF ORIENTAL CERAMICS, OSAKA (GIFT OF THE SUMITOMO GROUP)

pigments to paint bold motifs under a


translucent celadon glaze. In the firing process,
the iron pigment oxidised and changed to
a dark brown or almost black colour. Iron
oxide-painted wares have designs that are
often vivacious in feel, irregular and rather
coarse. Moreover, their glaze is a yellowishbrown or dark greenish-grey, rather than the
purer jade-green. Celadon wares decorated
with copper oxide are extremely rare due to
the difficulty of stabilising copper pigments
under a celadon glaze. The few surviving
examples are therefore highly sought after
among collectors today.
The rise of the Mongols to power in Korea
in the 13th century is generally regarded as
having brought about a decline in the arts of
the Goryeo period. While celadon continued
to be produced throughout the 13th and
14th centuries, the quality of the glaze and
inlay technique deteriorated progressively.
Simultaneously, the quantity of celadon
increased as numerous kilns were established
around the country to cater to the growing
demand by the common people. Their ware
was, however, rather coarse and uninspired.
With the collapse of the Mongol rule in Yuan
China came also the demise of the Goryeo
dynasty. In 1392 General Yi Seonggye (13351408) seized power and established a new
dynasty named Joseon. Yi Seonggye, later
known as King Taejo, moved the capital to
Hanyang (today Seoul), and introduced NeoConfucianism as the official state philosophy.
Buddhism, the dominant religion sanctioned
by the ruling class for over a thousand years,
was officially banned. Along with the king,

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

a class of elite literati, collectively known as


yangban, governed society during the very
long-lived Joseon period. They were also
the primary patrons of the arts, their strong
connection to Neo-Confucian ideology
informing the choice of material and themes
for various art forms including ceramics.
The two most important groups of ceramics
produced in the Joseon period are the robust
stoneware called buncheong and porcelain.
The term buncheong is an abbreviation of the
longer Korean expression bunjang hoecheong
sagi, or ceramic wares of a greyish-green
clay body covered with white slip and a clear
greenish glaze. Buncheong stoneware was
produced only in the first two centuries of the
Joseon period. They were initially reserved
for use in the rites and ceremonies for royalty,
spreading to the upper and middle classes
and eventually becoming everyday functional
objects used by the broader population.

peonies, dynamic strokes in white slip have


been applied over the entire surface of the
vessel using a coarse brush (guiyal); the design
is then created using the sgraffito (scratched)
technique whereby the white slip is cut
through to reveal the underlying body colour.
Characteristic of buncheong ware of this
period are strikingly simplified and stylised
plant motifs, which make identification of
the plant types difficult. Instead of striving
for elegance, Joseon-period potters clearly
placed more emphasis on dynamic patterns
and the joy of experimentation. The rustic,
irregular beauty of buncheong ware captivated
the imagination of Japanese audiences in the
16th century, especially those affiliated with
the tea ceremony, chanoyu. Large numbers of
buncheong ware were imported to Japan and
eagerly emulated by Japanese potters.

Technically, buncheong evolved from Goryeo


period celadon, albeit that slightly coarser
and more greyish clay as well as a thinner
glaze was used. Kilns specialising in the
production of buncheong wares were spread
throughout the country, leading to a wide
variety of decorative techniques: inlaid,
incised, stamped, sgraffito, brush slip, overall
slip and painted with iron oxide underglaze.
Often, two or more decoration techniques are
combined on one vessel.

The obsession of the 16th century Japanese


for Korean ceramics is today generally
understood as one of the purposes for the
warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshis (1536/3798)
infamous invasions of the peninsula in 1592
and 1597. In the wake of these two military
expeditions, numerous kilns were raided and
destroyed and Korean potters were abducted
to Japan to help build up the native ceramic
industry. The devastation of Hideyoshis
invasions as well as a growing popularity
of porcelain in mid-Joseon period society
ultimately led to the demise of buncheong
production at the end of the 16th century.

For example, on one bottle in the exhibition


with trumpet-shaped mouth, flared lower
body and low feet decorated with design of

Porcelain, known in Korea as baekja, or white


ware, was the second most important group
of ceramics of the Joseon period. Although

21

FLASK WITH DESIGN OF AUTUMN FLOWERS AND DRAGONFLY, JOSEON PERIOD, 1700s, BLUE-AND-WHITE PORCELAIN,
THE MUSEUM OF ORIENTAL CERAMICS, OSAKA (GIFT OF THE SUMITOMO GROUP)

Early Korean blue-and-white porcelains at their


best are characterised by a painterly quality
and possessed a lyrical sensibility, which was
achieved through abbreviated brushwork and
the delicate hues of the cobalt oxide.
In the years following Hideyoshis military
campaigns on the Korean peninsula in the
late 16th century, cobalt pigment was difficult
to obtain due to the extremely high cost of
importing it (in the case of Chinese products)
or to use because of its uneven quality (in
the case of local products). This resulted in
the more widespread use of pigments with
a high iron content to create reddish-brown
underglaze designs. In the 18th century, the
challenging technique of underglaze copperred painting was revived for the decoration of
white ware. This technique had evolved in the
16th century for use on celadon, but thereafter
fell into disuse for almost two hundred years.
Porcelain continued to be produced in large
numbers through the late 18th and 19th
centuries. However, their quality decreased
as the designs grew increasingly elaborate
though mannered and uninspired.

soft-paste white porcelain had been produced


in small quantities during the Goryeo
dynasty, it was only in the 15th century that
Korean potters mastered the manufacture of
hard-paste white porcelain made of kaolin (a
type of white clay). These are covered with
a clear glaze containing a high-level of silica
and low levels of iron oxide and fired at
high temperatures of approximately 1300C.
Following the model of Ming-dynasty
China, baekja was adopted as imperial ware
in the 15th century, and by the 1460s, official
kilns were established and managed by the
royal court. By the 16th century, however,
white ware was no longer the sole domain
of the elite. Numerous regional kilns were
established to satisfy the growing demand of
the middle and lower classes for porcelain.
The white ware preferred by the Korean
royal court and high-ranking military
and civil officials (the yangban class)
comprised undecorated and uncomplicated
porcelain forms. This taste for an austere,
minimalist beauty reflects the ideology of
Neo-Confucianism,
which
discouraged

22

ostentatious display: a square bottle included


in the show embodies the severe, restrained
sophistication of Joseon-period plain white
porcelain. The purity of the luminous glaze,
which possesses a bluish tint that is unique to
Korean white ware, enhances the simple, yet
elegant, linearity of the vessel. This imbues
it with an abstract, modern sensibility that
continues to fascinate audiences even today.
Despite the preference for plain white ware,
colour was not entirely abandoned in Joseon
porcelain. Chinese blue-and-white porcelain
of the late Yuan and Ming dynasties was
imported to Korea by the elite, and they
inspired the production of early Joseon blueand-white wares. Korean porcelain production
reached its zenith from the mid-17th to mid18th centuries, when significant improvements
occurred in firing techniques, clay quality
and the pigments for underglaze decoration.
These nurtured a growing confidence in
Korean potters, who became increasingly less
dependent on Chinese models. They invented
new forms and designs that expressed the
distinctive aesthetics of the mid-Joseon period.

In contrast to its neighbours China and Japan,


who also boast a long and rich tradition of
ceramics, Korean Goryeo and early Joseon
ceramics stand out for their emphasis on clarity
of form, understated elegance of decoration and
subtlety of colour, reflecting a uniquely Korean
aesthetic sensitivity. The 38 objects included in
the show not only provide a comprehensive
overview of the seven most significant centuries
in the history of Korean ceramics, but also serve
as a visual reminder of Koreas importance in
the development of Japanese pre-modern and
modern ceramics, most notably Edo period
ceramics and the Mingei (folk craft) movement
of the 20th century.
Khanh Trinh is Curator of Japanese and Korean Art at
the Art Gallery of NSW.

REFERENCES
Ito Ikutaro and Mino Yutaka (eds), 1991. The radiance of jade and
the clarity of water: Korean ceramics from the Ataka collection.
Chicago, IL: Art Institute of Chicago ; New York : Hudson Hills Press.
Kang Kyung-sook, 2008. Korean ceramics. Korean culture series
12. Seoul: Korea Foundation..
Kim Kumja Paik (ed), 2003. Goryeo dynasty : Koreas age of
enlightenment, 918-1392. San Francisco : Asian Art Museum.
Lee Soyoung (ed), 2009. Art of the Korean renaissance, 14001600. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art ; New Haven ;
London: Yale University Press.
Pak Youngsook and Roderick Whitfield, 2003. Earthenware and
celadon. Handbooks of Korean art. London : Laurence King.
Roberts, Claire and Michael Brand (eds). 2000. Earth, spirit, fire:
Korean masterpieces of the Choson dynasty (1392-1910). Sydney:
Powerhouse Publishing; Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery.

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

A P T : M OR E T H A N A S P E C TA C L E
Anne Kirker

SOUL UNDER THE MOON 2002, YAYOI KUSAMA, JAPAN. MIRRORS, ULTRA VIOLET LIGHTS, WATER,
PLASTIC, NYLON THREAD, TIMBER, SYNTHETIC POLYMER PAINT. 340 X 712.1 X 600CM (INSTALLED).
THE KENNETH MYER & YASUKO MYER COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART. QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY

umerous
commentators,
including
the preview by Russell Storer in the
December 2012 issue of TAASA Review, have
written on APT 7. They have pointed to the
breadth of the exhibition: the way it occupies
the entire Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA),
as well as much of the older building of
Queensland Art Gallery (QAG); they describe
the visual impact of the exhibits, their cultural
origins and the ways in which Australia now
relates to the broader Asia Pacific region.
Representing some 75 artists and artist
groups from 27 countries, this is an enormous
enterprise. John McDonald, writing for The
Sydney Morning Herald (22 December 2012)
observed the ascendency of the Pacific in
APT 7 through the Papua New Guinea items
featured in the central atrium of GOMA,
and the way geographical boundaries have
been stretched to accommodate West Asian
practitioners.

While all of this is true, what commentators


have often taken for granted are the long-term
benefits to the Australian community and its
neighbours - and to art history as a whole resulting from the APTs interface with a
permanent collection. Principle to this is, of
course, the role of Queensland Art Gallery as
a collecting institution.
While it was recognized from the outset that
the APT could be used to foster collection
development, it was not until the prospect
of expanding into a new building dedicated
to contemporary art (GOMA) that a greater
imperative to collect art from the region
emerged. In the past 20 years, Queenslands
permanent international art holdings have
decisively changed direction away from their
former focus on European material (mainly
British, with some French and Italian) and
historical Asian (chiefly Japanese) to a focus
on the modern and especially contemporary
realms of the Asia Pacific. While not neglecting
the acquisition of international art from
elsewhere (there are a few good examples
from North America and a unique and
idiosyncratic grouping of Fluxus imagery, for
instance), there is no doubt that the emphasis
has changed. Furthermore, QAGOMA (as it
is now known) has often been first off the
rank in securing outstanding instances of
major Asian and Pacific artists work.
Such an important shift in collection emphasis
can be traced not only to the advent of GOMA

24

(a building and philosophy which demanded


increased attention to the art of recent times,
and congruently APT) but also to policy
alterations in collection and curatorial
briefs. For instance, the traditional curatorial
framework that was once structured according
to media specialty (such as works on paper,
painting and sculpture) has been displaced to
acknowledge the cross-disciplinary nature of
art today and to accommodate new program
initiatives, not least that of screen culture.
With a comparatively small State collection
in Australian terms, it made sense to
formulate new curatorial positions based on
School, following geographical parameters,
accompanied by timeframes according to
the historical and contemporary. This
logically suited the two-venue situation of
QAG and its younger sibling GOMA.
New program initiatives meant that in-house
expertise was increased in areas pertinent to
APT with curators dedicated to Pacific Art
and Contemporary Asian Art. Before APT 4
in 2002, no such specialized positions existed;
they were further refined and consolidated by
the time APT 5 occurred.
Initially however, to serve the panoramic
nature of the event, an overseeing National
Committee was established, with a Special
Project team set up at the Gallery led by
Caroline Turner, which enlisted staff drawn
from Education as much as Curatorial. In fact
the teams catchment extended to practically
all departments at the institution. Collectively,
the staff embarked on a steep learning

curve in association with art professionals


elsewhere in Australia, and necessarily
and rewardingly, with APT co-curators
in the Asia Pacific region. A cursory glance
at the acknowledgments of the early APT
catalogues demonstrates just how colossal the
international (specified country by country)
support for the project was; from artists and
their representatives to government bodies,
grant agencies, etc. Now, with APT 7, the
project is curated predominantly in-house
as comprehensive links with artists and art
infrastructures, underpinned by the ease of
electronic communication, is firmly in place.
Some examples of the collection initiatives
that resulted from APT becoming a fixture
in Queensland include the acquisition of art
installations, which are notoriously difficult
to store. Yet, in acquiring them, the Gallery
proved that it was an institution wishing at all
costs to reflect current artistic practice. From
APT 1, and subsequently exhibited many
times, came Dadang Christantos For those:
Who are poor, Who have suffer(ing), Who are
oppressed, Who are voiceless, Who are powerless,
Who are burdened, Who are victims of violence,
Who are victims of dupe, Who are victims of
injustice 1993 (from Indonesia) and Montien
Boonmas Lotus sound 1992 (from Thailand).
In between the first two Triennials, Xu Bings
A book from the sky 1987-91 (from China/USA)
was acquired, while Yasumasa Morimuras
large scale photograph Blinded by the light 1991
expanded the scope of the Japanese holdings
when it entered the collection and became an
exhibit in APT 2.

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

WITH OR WITHOUT NAME SHE WAS BLUE AND WHO KNEW WHEN SHE WOULD SLIP INTO ANOTHER MOOD FOR HER UNDERSTANDABLE
UNWILLINGNESS TO DO, TO SPEAK TO, TO FEEL AND DETERMINE HER NEXT MOVE RESTS IN HER NEST AS WOULD A REFUGEE (DETAIL) 2009,
RINA BANERJEE, INDIA/USA B.1963, METAL STRUCTURE, FEATHERS, FABRIC, SHELLS, BELLS, SKULL,176 X 94 X 73CM.
IMAGE: COURTESY THE ARTIST AND GALERIE NATHALIE OBADIA, PARIS

The pattern has continued of coupling an


acquisition program with an exhibition
project. From India, Nalini Malanis ambitious
video installation Remembering Toba Tek Singh
1998-99 was purchased in 2000 along with
Korean Nam June Paiks TV cello 2000 and
became part of those works representing
these artists in APT 4. From Japan, Yayoi
Kusamas perennially popular `Mirror/
Infinity room Soul under the moon 2002 was
specifically conceived for APT. Subsequently,
the multi-part sculpture Painted vases 2006
and earlier performance based photograph
series Dropping a Han dynasty urn 1995 by
controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei were
acquired and included in APT 5. For the
2009 event, Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy
Farmanfarmaians recently produced glass
painting Lightning for Neda 2009 was
collected by the Gallery as was Tibetan Pop
collagist Gonkar Gyatsos Angel 2007. With
instant appeal to a broad audience, Zhu
Weibing and Ji Wenyus installation People
holding flowers 2007 was also purchased.
The decision of what to acquire from APT
7 has largely been made in advance of
the exhibition and they include works by
Asian artists Atul Dodiya, LN Tallur, Neha
Choksi, Huang Yong Ping, Sara Rahbar, the
childrens favourite Hahan (as part of APT 7,
the Gallery has published an activity book by
this Indonesian artist), Wedhar Riyadi, Tiffany
Chung, Gimhongsok, Phuan Thai Meng,
Nguyen Thai Tuan, Erbossyn Meldibekov and
Yuan Goang-Ming, among others. Personally,
I would barrack for the work displayed by two
artists of Indian origin, Rina Banerjee, with her
curious and resonant bricolage assemblages,
and Raqib Shaw with his Paradise Lost 200111 series of highly imaginative Mughal
miniature inspired paintings. Together they
reflect bold ideas and creative extravagance
and sophistication emanating from artists
living between cultures who nevertheless
draw inspiration from their homeland.
Thus, while it is tempting to think of APT in
terms of spectacle, a broader vision reveals
more lasting implications those focusing on
collection building. While not at the expense
of the Gallerys comprehensive holdings
of Australian works (including Indigenous
Australian Art) the Asia Pacific focus for
collecting has provided the institution with a
unique position in the art world.
Two major exhibitions at GOMA that would
not have occurred without the APT project
and associated collecting policy, underscore
this international positioning. The first, The
China Project, held in the first half of 2009,
incorporated an exhibition titled Three Decades:

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

The Contemporary Chinese Collection, based


on the Gallerys holdings dating from the
early 1980s to the present time. The second,
following soon afterwards in mid 2010,
addressed contemporary New Zealand art
and film with a thematic underpinning. Called
Unnerved: The New Zealand Project, it picked
up on the dark and disturbing gothic strain
of work and favoured photography and film,
making good use of the Cinmathque facility.

the collection policy that has real and lasting


impact. At a guess, a focused exhibition
on India and one on Indonesia are likely
exhibitions in the future based around
acquisitions flowing from the APT project.
Dr Anne Kirker worked as a curator at Queensland
Art Gallery for 18 years. During that time she was part
of the project team associated with the first four APTs.

In short, while spectacle and specific APT


activities (not least being the childrens
program) draw audiences to the Gallery, it is
the vigorous and judicious implementation of

25

C OLL E C TOR S C H OI C E : T W O B L U E & W H I T E V I E T N A M E S E C H A R G E R S


John Yu

s an incorrigible collector, I am often asked


what is your favourite? and for me,
that is an impossible question to answer. But
I do have a passion for Asian textiles and for
ceramics. If pressed I might even narrow this
to 18th century English delftware pottery and
Vietnamese ceramics.

Chinese ceramics have an unchallenged place


in the ceramic world but the market value has
risen so steeply in recent times that few can
afford to aspire to ownership of even modest
examples of the best. Vietnamese ceramics on
the other hand, have been created with the same
traditional influences but achieve a distinctive
stylistic difference something more earthy and
without all the zeros in the price!
Arguably my preference would be for
Vietnamese
monochromes
with
their
satisfying form and sensual glazes when held
in the hand. But I have chosen two blue and
white deep dishes with under glaze cobalt
decoration, each with that mysterious brown
wash to the underside of the base.
Dishes like these were commonly exported to
Southeast Asia and used for communal food,
especially the larger charger size dishes of
about 35-37 cm diameter. I have bought them
in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and
Adelaide. They are not rare.

Vietnamese blue and white decoration


favours floral designs often of peonies and
chrysanthemums; these decorative types tend
to be drawn in a rather stiff stylised hand with
a larger central flower surrounded by scattered
flowers, tendrils and leaves. Also common are
sea creatures like fish and shrimps and birds
such as ducks and sparrows. Less frequent are
animals such as deer and mythical creatures
like the kylin. Sparsely drawn landscapes in
the Chinese tradition are less common, and
desirable.
The illustrated example with a dramatic fish
among water weeds is 22.7 cm in diameter,
height 5.8 cm and foot rim diameter 15 cm.
It has two brown wash rings painted on its
base. The sides are undecorated and there are
occasional brown iron spots in the glaze. A
chip on the foot rim reveals a dense greyish
white stoneware body. The foot rim is high at
1.7 cm for a dish of this size: reminiscent of
some bowls of this period, it creates a pleasing
profile. A very similar dish, from the John
Menke Collection, is illustrated as figure 275
in John Stevenson and John Guys book which
dates it 15th-16th century. This collection was
recently sold by Zetterquist Gallery in New
York. Bui Minh Tri and Kerry Nguyen Long
in figure 243, describe a similar fish as a Ca
Ngao fish. The design is uncommon and is a
wonderful example of fresh free drawing full

of life and movement. It was purchased in


Oriental Place, Bangkok 5 years ago.
The second charger with a shrimp is much
less frequently found. The dish dimensions
are diameter 23.5 cm, height 5.6 cm and foot
rim base 16.8 cm. It has a rolled lip and a
brown wash applied to the entire base. The
shrimp is surrounded by water plants and
is very well drawn with considerable detail.
The exterior is decorated with a lotus petal
band, commonly found in dishes such as this.
Dated about 15th-16th century, similar shrimp
patterned dishes are seen in Figure 68 in Bui
Minh Tri and Kerry Nguyen Longs book and
Figure 282 in John Stevenson and John Guys
book. This dish was purchased in River City,
Bangkok about 10 years ago.
John Yu has collected ceramics for over 30 years.
He was formerly President of the Ceramic Collector
Society and Deputy President of the AGNSW Trust. He
was a member of the first TAASA Committee and is
Chair of the VisAsia Board.

REFERENCES
Bui Minh Tri and Kerry Nguyen-Long, 2001. Vietnamese Blue and
White Ceramics-Social Science Publishing House, Ha Noi.
John Stevenson and John Guy, 1997. Vietnamese Ceramics, a
separate tradition. Avery Press, Chicago.

PLATE WITH FISH AMONG WATER, VIETNAMESE C.15TH/16TH CENTURY, STONEWARE WITH UNDERGLAZE

PLATE WITH SHRIMP, VIETNAMESE C.15TH/16TH CENTURY, STONEWARE WITH UNDERGLAZE

COBALT BLUE DESIGN AND CLEAR GLAZE. 22.7CM (D). COLLECTION: JOHN YU

COBALT BLUE DESIGN AND CLEAR GLAZE. 23.5CM (D). COLLECTION: JOHN YU

26

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

B OO K R E V I E W: B A L I N E S E A R T
Niki van den Heuvel

Gelgel and Klungkung courts from the 14th


century and their paintings are still considered
the epitome of the Classical style.

Balinese Art: Paintings and


Drawings of Bali 1800-2010
Adrian Vickers
Tuttle Publishing, 2012
RRP USD$49.95, hardcover, 256 pp

Since the early 1970s Adrian Vickers, Professor


of Southeast Asian Studies and Director
of Asian Studies Program and Australian
Centre for Asian Art and Archaeology at the
University of Sydney, has devoted much of
his career to the study of Indonesian history,
narratives, art and languages. Scholars,
enthusiasts and travellers of Indonesia will be
familiar with his previous work, in particular
A History of Modern Indonesia (2005) and Bali:
A Paradise Created (1989). Vickers latest book
Balinese Art: Paintings and Drawings of Bali
1800-2010 is the culmination of over 30 years
of research and provides readers with the first
comprehensive account of Balinese painting
from its earliest manifestations and roots in
Indian and Javanese culture, to the present.
Balinese Art is a scholarly resource that will
also appeal to audiences with a general
interest in Bali and Asian art. In it Vickers
considers a diversity of topics including
Balinese aesthetics; Classical iconography and
Balinese narratives and their continuation in
the 20th and 21st centuries; early modern art;
post-WWII painting and images associated
with various revolutionary periods, and
contemporary practice in globalised Indonesia.
Also presented is a thorough account of Balis
rich religious, political and social history
within the broader context of the archipelago.
Some readers, particularly those new to
Balinese studies, may wonder at the amount
of attention given to Kamasan, a village
renowned for its production of Classical
paintings that depict, in extraordinary detail,
great Hindu epics and other narratives in the
shadow puppet or wayang style. This becomes
apparent, if not always explicitly stated by
the author, as the text progresses. Artists of
Kamasan are known to have painted for the

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

In the chapter Traditions: Classical Art of Bali,


Vickers demonstrates that while Classical
painting in other regions metamorphosed
into different styles, died out or survived
through individual efforts, the patronage of
Balis highest ruling king led to the longevity
of Kamasan traditions. In addition, while
fewer examples of early Classical painting
from other regions survive or have been
documented, numerous Kamasan paintings
from the early 19th century onwards are held
in international collections. Important among
these is the Australian Museums renowned
Forge Collection, acquired by Professor
Anthony Forge during the early 1970s as part
of his own research into Balinese art.
Maintaining that tradition is not solely
associated with the past. Vickers introduces
readers to the art of Kamasan through the
work of two living artists, Kamasan painter
I Nyoman Mandra (b. 1946) and Balineseborn-Javanese-based contemporary artist I
Nyoman Masriadi (b. 1973). Vickers argues
that the iconographic and narrative traditions
established in early Balinese Classical
painting have continued to evolve and exist
within styles emerging throughout the 20th
and 21st centuries.

Ngendon (1914-47/48) how modern linear


and flattened compositions remain rooted in
Classical traditions which referenced both the
mundane and spiritual. While credit is given
to expatriate artists and other entrepreneurs
for their role in creating new markets and
forums for Balinese painters, the impact of
Western materials and media is emphasised
over imported teaching styles and imagery.
Balinese Art: Paintings and Drawings of Bali
1800-2010 illuminates the complex history of
Balinese painting with its clarity of expression,
rich visual analysis and documentation.
Vickers presents a balanced and critical
selection of paintings and drawings from
Balinese, international and private collections.
For those involved in the study of Balinese art,
this publication provides a valuable tool for
the identification of Balinese art as well as a
springboard for further study. Other readers
will likely be inspired by Vickers to delve
deeper into the world of Balinese painting.
Niki van den Heuvel is Assistant Curator of Asian Art,
National Gallery of Australia.

Also requiring mention are the authors


efforts to dispel myths regarding the creation
of modern Balinese art by Western artists
including Walter Spies (1895-1942) and Rudolf
Bonnet (1895-1978) during the 1930s. As
Vickers points out in his chapter Transitions: PreWar modernists, previous accounts credited these
artists with leading Balinese painters to adopt
naturalistic painting styles and the depiction of
the everyday in their work. Instead, he argues
that every day life already existed in Balinese
art, as did the depiction of the natural world
according to Balinese viewpoints.
Indeed, an in depth visual analysis of pre- and
post WWII paintings coupled with extensive
reference to the commentaries of European
artists, their Balinese contemporaries, and
anthropologists working in Bali at the
time, reveals a more complex story. We see,
for example, through the work of artists
such as Ubuds I Gusti Nyoman Lempad
(1862/75-1978) and Batuans I Nyoman

27

R E C E N T TAA S A A C TI V ITI E S

LENORE BLACKWOOD, THE FABRIC OF


HER LIFE - IN CONVERSATION WITH
CAROLINE BAUM
TEXTILE STUDY GROUP - DEDICATION
TO DEE COURT
Helen Perry
Dee had always urged Lenore to write about
her amazing life experiences and so we
decided to fulfil Dees wish in the form of a
conversation between Lenore and Caroline.
That this event on 24 October 2012 at the Target
Theatre, Powerhouse Museum was a sell-out
was testament to the high esteem held for Dee
Court, the legendry story telling prowess of
Lenore Blackwood and the highly regarded
interviewing skills of Caroline Baum.
Early in the conversation we discovered the
catalyst for Lenores obsession with travel.
In 1956, en route to London to pursue an
acting career, her boat stopped in Colombo
and it was there that her fascination for exotic
destinations was born. The defining moment
came in London when faced with a decision
between taking an acting role and 8 months
backpacking through India. The choice was
India and a lifetime of intrepid, mostly solo,
travel was the outcome.
After an overview of destinations and a
discussion on how Lenore managed her
working life to support her travels, the
conversation focussed on her time in Ethiopia,
Somalia, Niger and Mexico. Lenores
theatrical background soon became evident

as we were regaled with stories of trips to the


mountains of Ethiopia, the deserts of Niger
and the indigenous groups of her beloved
Mexico. The conversation became particularly
animated with her description of a Huichol
Indian festival.
Lenores stories were even more colourful
than the display of textiles from her collection
and it was far too soon when time ran out.
The evening ended with a video tribute to
Lenore prepared by Carole Douglas and Mike
Sloane. Wonderful images from Lenores
archives drifted in and out accompanied by
an atmospheric soundtrack. Simultaneously,
scrolling across the screen, was a list of the
countries that Lenore has travelled to. I
believe the count was 84 in all - one for every
year of a remarkable life.
TAASAS TRIPLE TREAT IN CANBERRA
Sandra Forbes
On a brisk November Saturday morning,
25 TAASA members met in the foyer of the
National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Canberra.
Some of us were ACT locals, but most had
made the journey from Sydney, and one
member had even driven from Melbourne.
TAASA was offering a lovely program: a
morning at the Portrait Gallery with a guided
tour of the exhibition Go F!gure: contemporary
Chinese portraiture, followed by lunch
(included) at the NPG cafe; then a move to
the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) for
a tour of the exhibition Divine Worlds: Indian
painting.

Canberra-based TAASA Committee member


Charlotte Galloway introduced Dr Christine
Clarke, NPG Exhibitions Manager and our
expert guide for Go F!gure. She explained that
portraits we were viewing today were all from
the collection of Dr Ulli Sigg, who had recently
(June 2012) donated half his collection to the
new M+ centre in Hong Kong, scheduled to
open in 2017. The M+Sigg collection had been
brought to Australia by the NPG in partnership
with the Sherman Contemporary Art
Foundation. Dr Clarke recommended a visit to
SCAF in Sydney to view the extraordinary and
moving installation Old Peoples Home by Sun
Yuan and Peng Yu.
After Dr Clarke explained the four themes of
the exhibition, we moved on to the artworks.
The first section, About Face, consisted of
works on the theme of the face revealed and
concealed, and of exploring the space between
the private and public sphere. The theme was
epitomised by Fang Lijuns large, luminous
oil painting Untitled, painted in 1995 during
the years of despair following Tiananmen
Square: the bald-headed artist turns his back,
providing in effect an anti-portrait.
Body Politic, the next section, showed the
work of artists who, from the 1980s, were able
to experiment with both artistic practice and
political satire. One interesting work here was the
recent (2011) Dedicated to her: Loudspeaker, where
the actual speech given at the founding of the
Republic of China in 1949 emanates repeatedly
from a corner microphone of that period.
Performance art, as recorded in witty videos
and startling photographs, featured in the
section Skin Deep. The massive shifts in
Chinese society over the past three decades
were mirrored in all the artworks in the
exhibition, but most particularly in the video
works in its last section, Self Reflex. Wang
Jianweis From the masses, to the masses (2000),
a video installation also on show at SFAC in
Sydney, documents fragments of everyday
traditional life in fascinating detail in Part A,
while Part B focuses on regimented lines of
school children the future.
Dr Clarkes generous provision of her time
and expertise was fully appreciated by all
present. Apart from providing an overview
of Chinese artistic practice post-Cultural
Revolution, the exhibition had also assisted
us in gaining insight into the complexities of

CAROLINE BAUM. PHOTO: SANDY WATSON, 2012

28

LENORE BLACKWOOD. PHOTO: SANDY WATSON, 2012

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

DR CHRISTINE CLARK (CENTRE FRONT) WITH TAASA COMMITTEE


MEMBERS CHARLOTTE GALLOWAY (L) AND ANN PROCTOR (R) IN
FRONT OF EATING BY LIU XIADONG (2000, M+SIGG COLLECTION)
AT THE NPG, CANBERRA, NOVEMBER 2012

life and motivations in contemporary Chinese


society itself.
After an excellent lunch in the breezy spring
sunshine, we walked across to the National
Gallery, to be met by Melanie Eastburn, NGAs
Curator of Asian Art and specifically of the
current exhibition Divine Worlds (and a very
active and appreciated member of TAASA).
Melanie gave us a brief overview of the
exhibition, which consisted entirely of Indian
paintings - Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim from the Gallerys own collection. Moving
into the display itself, we were instantly in a
different world of glowing pictures on richcoloured walls, a real contrast with the original
NGA buildings grey, somewhat stonily
overpowering halls. The paintings ranged
from exquisite intimate miniatures to vast
hunting scenes, from enormous pilgrimage
maps to vividly-coloured devotional shrine
paintings (pichivai). Even delicate early
miniatures (dating 16th - 20th century) could
be appreciated in this hanging.

CHRISTINA SUMNER, OAM


Sandra Forbes
TAASA is delighted to report that our VicePresident, Christina Sumner, was awarded
a Medal of the Order of Australia (General
Division) in the recent Australia Day
honours, for services to the visual arts.
Christina has been Principal Curator, Design
and Society, at the Powerhouse Museum,
Sydney, for 28 years. She retired from her
position on 31 January this year, so the timing
of this honour is particularly appropriate,
crowning her long career in the arts.
For TAASA, Christina Sumner has literally
been life-giving she was one of the four
original founders of the Society, legendarily
hatched in a yurt at the Powerhouse in
1991 (ref. TR Dec 2001 and Dec 2011). Since
the formal foundation of TAASA in October
1991, she has continued to be deeply
involved with all its activities. One of her

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

Perhaps the most dramatic room was the one


full of pichivais. These large works on cloth
have only relatively recently been recognised
as collectable by major art museums, and
the NGA has a particularly good holding.
Pichivais, Melanie explained, were usually
created especially for temples to hang before
the principal image of the god. A number in
the Gallerys collection depict Krishna, the
blue-skinned flute player who captivated the
milkmaids. A delightful Priests worshipping
Krishna as Shrinathji (c.1840), dressed in a silver
gown and flanked by two priests, originates
from Nathdwara, still an important centre
for Krishna-worship and pichivai production
in Rajasthan.
In a glass case on the floor of the pichivai room
lay a fascinating large Jain painting, Map of
Jain sacred site Shatrunjaya (189798). Melanie
explained that this piece was currently shown
horizontally because in its current condition
it could not be hung vertically. Such large
painted textiles are often in poor physical
condition when acquired, due to prolonged
use in ceremonies and devotions, thereby
creating particularly difficult conservation
challenges. (However, we rather guiltily
agreed that this did provide a unique
opportunity to examine its intricate detail.)
Canberra-based TAASA member Claudia
Hyles had generously offered to host drinks
at her home following our NGA visit.
Surrounded by Claudias personal collection,
mainly from India, we thus appropriately

concluded a most rewarding, informative and


friendly TAASA day. Thanks to all organisers.
TAASA WALKTHROUGH OF THE NEW
NGV ASIAN GALLERIES
Ian Strachan
On 27October 2012, TAASA members took up
the opportunity of a guided walkthrough of
the newly installed Asian galleries at the NGV,
where curators Mae Anna Pang, Carol Cains
and Wayne Crothers shared their expertise
and their stories about the treasures they love.
The first impression is of space and light.
These are no crowded galleries where objects
are so jostled together that everything merges
in the viewing. Theres time to reflect, and
space, for example, to walk round a 15th
century Japanese ceramic jar to see the
difference between its front and back glazing.
Cabinets tend to have a single display shelf so
the eye is not distracted.
The new galleries are divided into China,
South & Southeast Asia and Japan. They are
themed and clearly articulated. China has
four sections: In Search of Immortality (burial
objects 2BCE - 17th century); Spiritual Retreat in
Nature (showing the restraint of scholar-official
objects); Imperial Art of China (featuring the
dragon motif) and Buddhist Art of China.
The design of the galleries provides seamless
cross-cultural transitions. Two Chinese
Avalokitesvaras (gilt bronze and wood)

most important roles has been the essential


liaison between TAASAs Textile Group
(founded 1994) and the Powerhouse, where
that group meets. TAASA is an affiliated
society of the Powerhouse, a connection
enabled by Christina, which has allowed us
to hold many symposia in the Powerhouses
conference facilities.
Christinas contribution to TAASA Review
over the years has also been remarkable.
A quick consultation of the Index to the
Review (ref. www.taasa.org.au) reveals more
than 25 articles under her name.
Among the many exhibitions Christina has
curated for the Powerhouse are a number
which are of particular interest to Asian art
lovers. They include Faith, fashion, fusion:
Muslim womens style in Australia (2012);
Bright flowers: textiles and ceramics of Central
Asia (2004); Arts of Southeast Asia: from the
Powerhouse Museum collection (2001); and
Beyond the Silk Road: arts of Central Asia from

CHRISTINA SUMNER HOLDING A 1990 AUSTRALIAN QUILT


BY JOCELYN CAMPBELL, GOODNIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT.
COURTESY: POWERHOUSE MUSEUM, SYDNEY

the Powerhouse Museum collection (1999). The


notable catalogues of those exhibitions, coauthored by Christina, are collectors items.
Christina will continue to be associated with
the Powerhouse Museum as a voluntary
consultant, and also intends to continue her
close association with TAASA, of which she
has been Vice-President since 2010.

29

TAA S A M E M B E R S DIAR Y
M A R C H 2 0 1 3 MAY 2 0 1 3
TAASA Symposium:
From Beginner to Expert
Saturday 9 March 2013, 10.15am 3.45pm
Sydney Mechanics School of Arts,
280 Pitt Street Sydney
For Asian art enthusiasts, including those
starting to collect Asian art or with an
established collection. Topics include: how
do I go about building my collection, how
do I find out more? Plus the issues of fakes,
pricing, conservation and display. A Q&A
session rounds off the day and pieces from
presenters collections will be on display.
Confirmed speakers are:
Michael Abbott, QC, on his experiences as
a collector of Southeast Asian and Indian art.
Paul Sumner, Managing Director,
Mossgreen Auctions, on the changing
commercial market in Australia for
artefacts and works of art.
Brigitte Benziger & David Hulme, fine
art appraisers, on the opportunities and
pitfalls of collecting.
Todd Sunderman, collector of antique
Tibetan furniture, on becoming an expert
in a specialised field.
Raimy Che-Ross, collector of Malay
silverware.
Donna Hinton, Head of Objects
Conservation at the Art Gallery of NSW.

flow into an altar display of various Tibetan


devotional objects, through to a case of Javanese,
Thai, Singhalese and Burmese Buddhas in
the South and Southeast Asian section. This is
the most diverse section, but Khmer pictures,
Vietnamese ceramics, Gandharan statues and
Indian representations of Shiva also give a sense
of the richness of the art of this part of Asia.
A surprise feature is the touch screens which
solve the problem of displaying illustrated
books: as well as the book itself, open securely
at one page in a case, you can turn all the
pages on the screen beside it. Flipped quickly,
a Javanese 19th century manuscript in the
wayang style turns into a shadow puppet
performance (bravo!).
Past a black Samurai helmet resembling a
dinosaur, you enter the Japanese gallery. This
is a brave mixture of ancient and modern,
artistic and domestic. And it works. Ceramics
by Takahiro from 2008 are set against 19th
century Hokusai whimsical drawings (the
original manga); negoro lacquer objects, one
per case, contrast with bridal trousseau sets.
The afternoon concluded on a high note with
high tea and the opportunity to discuss the
experience with fellow members and the
curators.

TAASAS END OF YEAR PARTY


29 NOVEMBER 2012
This regular event was held this year at 4A,
Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Hay St.,
Sydney, attended by a large number of members.
Pedro de Almeida, Program Manager for the
Gallery, provided some context and information
about its history and program, as well as some
background to 4As current Sydney Pavilion at
the Shanghai Biennale, which was put together
by Aaron Seeto, Director, and Toby Chapman,
Assistant Curator of 4A.
Our delicious food was provided by caterers
Misschu and this year, we offered a cocktail
special, Aperol Spritz, to celebrate the
festive season. Thank you to members who
supported us by purchasing raffle tickets - we
had a large range of prizes kindly donated by
various Committee members.
JACKIE MENZIES
TAASA regrets to report that Jackie Menzies
has stepped down as Head of Asian Art at the
Art Gallery of NSW as of the end of 2012, after
37 years at the Gallery. She remains involved
with the AGNSW however as Emeritus
Curator, working on a project by project basis.
We look forward to Jackie continuing her long
term involvement with TAASA: she served as
TAASA President from 1992 to 2000 and has
been a valued contributor to the TAASA Review
since its very first issue in January 1992.

For more information and booking form,


contact Ann Guild on (02) 9460 4579 or
macguild@optusnet.com.au.
TAASA AGM & Presentation
Passages to India by Claudia Hyles
Wednesday 17 April 2013, 6-8pm
Sydney Mechanics School of Arts,
280 Pitt Street Sydney
Writer, literary reviewer & independent
researcher, Claudia looks back at her many
trips to India since 1968.
Refreshments available. $20 TAASA
members; bookings essential: RSVP
10 April to Ann Guild on (02) 9460 4579
or macguild@optusnet.com.au.

TAASA Textile Study group
All meetings held at the Curatorial Caf,
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney 6-8pm
Wednesday 13 March: Textiles of East Timor,
show & tell led by Chris Reid. Bring along
your own textiles for discussion.
Wednesday 10 April: Revival & Innovation
the tradition and evolution of Aari embroidery.
Presented by master embroiderer and fashion
designer Asif Shaikh, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Wednesday 8 May: Sarong Kebaya; Plain Womens
Work? Marianne Hulsbosch will examine the
sarong and kebaya in womens lives.
Refreshments provided. $10 members;
$15 non members

30

LAUNCH OF TAASA CERAMICS STUDY GROUP


TAASA is pleased to announce the launch of a new Ceramics Study Group aimed at
offering its members the opportunity for in depth study of ceramics from all parts of
Asia. We are currently putting together a program of events for 2013, which we hope
will promote interest in the study and knowledge of ceramics and provide a focus and
meeting point for collectors, curators and others interested in Asian ceramics.
Special Pieces
Thursday 4 April 6 8pm
This first meeting invites people to bring a favourite or special ceramic item from
their collection to discuss with the group.
Venue: to be advised.
Refreshments served. $10 members; $15 guests.
RSVP: Margaret White at: Margaret.artmoves@gmail.com.
Your feedback about what youd like the CSG to cover would be welcome and can be emailed
to Margaret.

Congratulations to Margot Yeomans from Victoria, winner of our lucky draw for
members who responded to our questionnaire before 31 December 2012. Margot will
get her membership fee for 2013 reimbursed. Further responses to our questionnaire
are very welcome.

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

W H AT S O N I N A U S TRALIA : M A R C H 2 0 1 3 M A Y 2 0 1 3
A SELECTIVE ROUNDUP OF EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS
Compiled by Tina Burge
NSW

Coffee talks: Auspicious Asia - a series of

VICTORIA

talks to inaugurate the Year of the Snake


Alexander the Great:

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Contemporary Asian and Pacific Art Gallery

2000 years of Treasures

19 February 2013 - 19 March 2013

National Gallery of Victoria (International),

Australian Museum, Sydney


24 November 2012 - 28 April 2013

The largest collection of treasures to come


to Australia from the State Hermitage in St
Petersburg, Russia includes over 400 objects
from classical antiquity through to the
modern age, spanning almost 2500 years.
For further information go to:
www.alexandersydney.com.au

Melbourne

This five week talk series showcases a


different area or religion in the Asian region
by a curator in the Asian department,
followed by a walkthrough of the relevant
section of the gallery.
For more information go to:
www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au
QUEENSLAND

Anish Kapoor

The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Contemporary Art

20 December 2012 - 1 April 2013

Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Ongoing

The NGVIs newly opened Contemporary


Asian and Pacific Art Gallery displays a
number of new acquisitions including the
video work Farmer by Thai artist Sudsiri
Pui-Ock, which represents the life of a farmer
in a rice field from a planar perspective.
The gallery is also providing a space for
conceptual artists such as Rirkrit Tiravanijas
Untitled (lunchbox), which invite visitors
to share a Thai takeaway meal and as a
consequence, take part in making art.

8 December 2012 - 14 April 2013

This first major presentation of Anish


Kapoors work in Australia includes
works from the entire gamut of his career
and illuminates the artists constant
experimentation with materials ranging
from clay, plastic, steel, pigments and wax.
For further information go to:
www.mca.com.au
Soul of Simplicity Seven centuries
of Korean ceramics
Art Gallery of New South Wales
8 February 2013 21 April 2014

Focuses on 38 Goryeo and Joseon ceramics


from the 12th to the 19th centuries, which
reveal the unique aesthetic sensibility and
outstanding technical prowess of Korean
potters. The pieces come from the Museum
of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka.

APT7 marks the 20th anniversary of the APT


series. A central theme is our relationship to
place at a time of rapid urbanisation and flux of
people, trade and influence. APT7 will feature
new and recent work by 75 artists and artist
groups from 27 countries across the region,
including painting, installation, sculpture and
photography by Indigenous Australian artists;
new works by artists from Papua New Guinea,
Indonesia and Vietnam; and a special focus on
West Asia, with works and major commissions
by artists from Turkey through the Middle East
to Iran and Central Asia.
For further information go to:
www.qagoma.qld.gov.au

Jim Masselos South Asia Archive


Research Library, Art Gallery of

Rally: Contemporary Indonesian Art, on


until 1 April 2013, presents the work of
contemporary Indonesian artists Eko
Nugroho and Jompet Kuswidananto
in a series of installations in the NGVI
Contemporary Project Space and Federation
court. Jompet is an installation artist while
Nugroho works across diverse media;
creating paintings, murals and handmade
comic books, contemporary updates of the
tradition of shadow puppet theatre, and
collaborations with local craftspeople to
produce embroideries.
The NGVI is having a series of floor talks in
conjunction with Cultural Diversity Week
including:
2pm 22 March, Southeast Asian
Observations by Mikala Tai, former
Director of Melbourne international Fine
Art gallery (MiFA), about cutting edge
work from Southeast Asia.
3pm 22 March, artist Tintin Wulia will
provide insights into the art work of
her Indonesian compatriots in Rally:
Contemporary Indonesian Art.

New South Wales, Sydney


5 February 2013 - 4 May 2013 (Tuesday to
Saturday only, restricted hours)

In 2011 Dr Jim Masselos donated a collection


of images on paper related to India to the
Art Gallery of NSW Archive. It ranges from
early European woodcuts to later engravings
and etchings, Indian prints, lithographs and
chromolithographs as well as photographs,
posters, paintings and drawings. A selection
of the works will be on display.
A BOOK FROM THE SKY 1987-91, XU BING, CHINA/USA,

Other events include:


12.30pm 18 April: floor talk by Carol
Cains, Curator, Asian art, discussing new
works from South and Southeast Asia
12.30pm 27 April: Shoji Hamada:
A demonstration by Shoji Hamada part
of the Slow Art Day Film program.
For more information go to:
www.ngv.vic.gov.au

WOODBLOCK PRINT, WOOD, LEATHER, IVORY. THE KENNETH MYER


& YASUKO MYER COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART.
QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY

TA A S A R E V I E W V O L U M E 2 2 N O. 1

31