Conference: Taiwan Maritime Landscapes from Neolithic to Early Modern Times

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For readers in Paris, a conference on Taiwanese Maritme Landscapes – with relevant links to Southeast Asia.

Taiwan Maritime Landscapes from Neolothic to Early Modern Times: Cross-Regional Perspectives
Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO)
Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica
Centre de recherche sur les civilisations d’Asie orientale (CRCAO, EPHE-CNRS)

Organized by

Paola CALANCA, EFEO (French School of Asian Studies)
LIU Yi-ch’ang, Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Frank MUYARD, National Central University, Taiwan

More details here.

NUS Asian Graduate Student Fellowships 2016

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The Asia Research Institute (ARI) of the National University of Singapore (NUS) invites applications from citizens of Asian countries currently enrolled in a fulltime Master’s or PhD degrees at a university in an Asian country (except Singapore) for consideration for the award of Asian Graduate Student Fellowships. Offered to graduate students working in the Humanities and Social Sciences on Southeast Asian topics, the fellowship will allow the recipients to be based at NUS for an ‘in residence fellowship’ for a period of eight (8) weeks. The aim of the fellowship is to enable scholars to make full use of the wide range of resources held in the libraries of NUS and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. The fellowship will commence on 23 May 2016, and scholars are expected to make a presentation on their work at the “Singapore Graduate Forum on Southeast Asian Studies” to be organised in the middle of July 2016.

Deadline: 15 November 2015
More details here.

Dutch museum to return 14,000 Indonesian treasures

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The Nusantara Museum in the Netherlands has offered the return of 14,000 artefacts to Indonesia, allegedly because of the financial difficulties faced by the museum.

Dutch museum to return 14,000 artifacts to RI
Jakarta Post, 20 October 2015

The Indonesian government has received an offer by Nusantara Museum in Delft, the Netherlands, for the return of some 14,000 artifacts held by the museum, an official said on Monday.

“I have just received the letter this week,” the Education and Culture Ministry’s director general of culture, Kacung Marijan, said after opening a workshop on museums on Sunday evening in Yogyakarta.

Based on the information, he said the collection would be returned to Indonesia because the museum was facing financial difficulties.

The 100-year-old museum was the only one in the Netherlands dedicated to collecting artistic and cultural artifacts from Indonesia, a country that the Netherlands colonized for 350 years. Noted fable puppeteer Ki Ledjar Soebroto of Yogyakarta was frequently invited to perform at the museum.

Full story here.

Artefacts returned to Cambodia

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Artefacts returned to Cambodia. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20151021

Cambodia recently celebrated the return of 11 artefacts to the country, including two that were returned by a Norwegian businessman.

Artefacts returned to Cambodia. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20151021

Artefacts returned to Cambodia. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20151021

Artefacts returned by collector
Phnom Penh Post, 21 October 2015

Norwegian returns 2 stolen stone statues to Cambodia
AP, via the Herald, 20 October 2015

Two Ancient Artifacts To Be Returned by Norwegian Collector
VOA Cambodia, 16 October 2015

Cambodian antiquities, including two Angkor-era statues, were returned to the government by a Norwegian private art collector at a ceremony at the National Museum in Phnom Penh yesterday.

The 11 artworks – the most valuable of which were a ninth century Preah Ko-style head of Shiva and a late 12th century Bayon-style male divinity – were handed over by businessman Morten Bosterud at an event presided over by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hom Namhong.

“I see myself not as a donor but as a returner of these art objects to their true owner,” Bosterud said. “I have had time to have a brief look around this museum and it made me realise that my decision was correct, and that my previous thoughts of being a caretaker of these objects was not correct.”

He added that he was certain the National Museum would take good care of the objects, display them to the public and use them for educational purposes.

Full story here and here.

Categories: Cambodia Sculpture


Asian Civilisations Museum to return statue to India

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Statue of Uma Parameshvari to be returned by the Asian Civilisations Museum. Source: Straits Times 20151020

After a formal request by the government of India, the Asian Civilisations Museum will return a bronze statue of Uma Parameshvari, which was identified as stolen in the recent high-profile antiquities looting case of Subhash Kapoor.

Statue of Uma Parameshvari to be returned by the Asian Civilisations Museum. Source: Straits Times 20151020

Statue of Uma Parameshvari to be returned by the Asian Civilisations Museum. Source: Straits Times 20151020

Asian Civilisations Museum to return ‘stolen’ 11th-century artefact to India
The Straits Times, 20 October 2015

Asian Civilisations Museum to return sculpture identified as stolen from India
Channel NewsAsia, 19 October 2015

The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) said yesterday it would return a sculpture identified as stolen, upon the request of the Indian government.

‘Stolen’ artefact puts murky issues in spotlight
The Straits Times, 23 October 2015

The 11th-century bronze sculpture depicting Hindu goddess Uma Parameshvari is among hundreds of stolen cultural artefacts amounting to over $148 million in an ongoing international art smuggling case. They are believed to have been looted and sold to museums by disgraced New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor, 65, who is awaiting trial in India on charges of theft and smuggling.

In a press statement, the ACM said it had bought the sculpture from Kapoor’s now-defunct gallery Art of the Past for US$650,000 (S$900,000) in 2007.

Full story here and here.

Two new papers in Antiquity

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Reader may be interested in two papers related to Southeast Asian Archaeology in the latest issue of Antiquity.

Rainfall and circular moated sites in north-east Thailand
Glen Scott and Dougald O’Reilly

The existence of moated mounds in the archaeological record of north-east Thailand has long been known, the majority constructed during the earlier first millennium AD. Despite considerable research, the purpose of the substantial and sometimes multiple moats surrounding raised occupation mounds has remained a mystery. Combining locational, hydrological and rainfall data with the archaeological evidence, this study of the moated mounds of the Khorat Plateau seeks to resolve the question through statistical analysis. The results suggest that water storage may have been the primary purpose of the moats, enabling communities to survive dry seasons and droughts.

Debating a great site: Ban Non Wat and the wider prehistory of Southeast Asia
C.F.W. Higham

Almost half a century has elapsed since the first area excavation of a prehistoric site in north-east Thailand at Non Nok Tha (Bayard & Solheim 2010) (Figure 1). A long and still unresolved debate has ensued, centred on the chronology of the establishment of rice farming and bronze casting, that has dovetailed with further controversies on the pace and nature of social change. Results obtained during the past 20 years of fieldwork focused on the upper Mun Valley of north-east Thailand, together with a new series of AMS radiocarbon determinations from key sites, have thrown into sharp relief contrasting interpretations of two issues: one centres on the timing and origin of the Neolithic settlement; the other on the date and impact of copper-base metallurgy. A consensus through debate would bring us to a tipping point that would see Southeast Asian prehistory turn to more interesting issues of cultural change.