CFP: International Convention of Asia Scholars 2019

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ICAS 11 Leiden, 16-19 July 2019
The 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) is the most inclusive international gathering in the field of Asian Studies. ICAS attracts participants from over 60 countries to engage in global dialogues on Asia that transcend boundaries between academic disciplines and geographic areas. The meeting place for the eleventh edition of ICAS is Leiden, the Netherlands. The historic city of Leiden is home to one of the oldest universities, Leiden University, and several of the most renowned Asia research centers. Leiden University will be the main host of ICAS 11, partnering with the city, research institutions and museums, who share equally rich Asian and global connections.

Call for proposals – deadline: 10 October 2018
The submission deadline for proposals of Individual Abstracts, Panels, Roundtables, Book presentations and PhD Dissertation presentations is 10 October 2018.

Official website: International Convention of Asia Scholars 2019

New Buddhist rock art at Wat Phraphuttachai, Saraburi

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New Buddhist rock art at Wat Phraphuttachai, practically invisible to the naked eye. Only parts of the "wings" can be seen easily.

Over the weekend, fellow rock art enthusiast Francesco Germi and I took a day trip from Bangkok to Saraburi province to visit Wat Phraphuttachai, a temple known for its Buddhist and ‘prehistoric’ rock art. For my doctoral research, I studied rock art sites across Mainland Southeast Asia that had later become religious shrines and so this site was of some personal interest.

Wat Phraphuttachai, Saraburi province, Thailand

Wat Phraphuttachai, Saraburi province, Thailand

Wat Phraphuttachai is located on a cliff face and the gold-roofed pavilion at the side of the cliff contains its namesake: a Buddhist rock painting in which is said to be an imprint of the Buddha himself.

Buddha's imprint, the 'Phraphutthachai' of Wat Phraphuttachai

Buddha’s imprint, the ‘Phraphutthachai’ of Wat Phraphuttachai

Just beside the entrance of this pavilion is a small section of wall that contain some other rock paintings. The rock art, which was gazetted by the Fine Arts Department in 1935, consists of hand prints, some honeycomb designs and an assortment of fragmentary red paintings. Most are extremely hard to see today.

The cliff side of Wat Phraphuttachai. The rock art is located just to the right of the pavilion's entrance, behind the Buddha statues.

The cliff side of Wat Phraphuttachai. The rock art is located just to the right of the pavilion’s entrance, behind the Buddha statues.

Red handprints and examples of very faded paintings at the site

Red hand prints and examples of very faded paintings at the site.

It wasn’t until we got back home and started to analyse our pictures with DStretch that we realised that one section of the wall with fragmentary paintings was actually a massive and magnificent image of the Buddha! Like the Phraphutthachai image, this Buddha is also life-sized but is more embellished.

New Buddhist rock art at Wat Phraphuttachai, practically invisible to the naked eye. Only parts of the "wings" can be seen easily.

New Buddhist rock art at Wat Phraphuttachai, practically invisible to the naked eye. Only parts of the “wings” can be seen easily.

I’m wondering now if the paintings all belong to the historic Buddhist period, rather than a two-layer prehistoric-then-Buddhist occupation. It could be some of the earlier paintings that were called human and animal figures were really misidentified. Finding this elaborate Buddhist image was quite cool, and if any readers could comment on the style of art, we would like to hear them – leave a comment below. For now, we have submitted a preliminary report of the finding to the Fine Arts Department of Thailand.

Angkor Wat temple graffiti causes stir – Khmer Times

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via Khmer Times, 25 June 2018: The ancient graffiti of Angkor Wat is actually quite interesting and something I encountered while researching the invisible paintings a few years ago. The ‘graffiti’ – most of them inscriptions left behind by pilgrims – sheds light on the history of the temple during the post-Angkorian period and when the temple began to be seen as a Buddhist shrine rather than a Hindu one. Of course, leaving writing on the walls of the temples today is not only highly discouraged, it is downright illegal!

The foreign letters written on the stones of the Angkor Wat temple were written during the 17th century and before the 1990s.

Source: Angkor Wat temple graffiti causes stir – Khmer Times

Categories: Angkor Cambodia

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Why the Sangh Parivar’s Idea of Building a ‘Hindu Dham’ in Cambodia Is Wrong

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via The Wire, 16 June 2018:

Project Hindu dham in Cambodia is not just misinformed: it is a regressive step in the history of India-Southeast Asia relations that could start a dangerous chain of religious disharmony and unrest.

The chief rationale for this project appears to be the grand Vaishnava temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Five hundred acres of land has been acquired and 1,008 Shivalingas established to mark the creation of a fifth dham for Hindus. The project is evidently well-funded. Its chief proponents perceive this enterprise as a ‘cultural investment’, an apt way to promote Hinduism beyond India, to revitalise historical links between South and Southeast Asian nations, and to encourage trans-Asian pilgrim networks.

Source: Why the Sangh Parivar’s Idea of Building a ‘Hindu Dham’ in Cambodia Is Wrong

SOAS statue: school denies it was smuggled, but provenance has not yet been established

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via The Nation, 16 June 2018: SOAS denies that the donated statue was smuggled but critics point out that the provenance of the statue is lacking, or at least has not yet been established (see other links at the end of this post).

London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has denied claims the prestigious institution possesses a 13th-century sculpture likely smuggled from Thailand

Source: Thai Buddha statue not smuggled: SOAS – The Nation

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[Paper] Complex history of dog (Canis familiaris) origins and translocations in the Pacific revealed by ancient mitogenomes

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New paper in Nature about the origins and spread of dogs in Southeast Asia and the Pacific by Kreig et al.

Article

Complex history of dog (Canis familiaris) origins and translocations in the Pacific revealed by ancient mitogenomes

Archaeological evidence suggests that dogs were introduced to the islands of Oceania via Island Southeast Asia around 3,300 years ago, and reached the eastern islands of Polynesia by the fourteenth century AD. This dispersal is intimately tied to human expansion, but the involvement of dogs in Pacific migrations is not well understood. Our analyses of seven new complete ancient mitogenomes and five partial mtDNA sequences from archaeological dog specimens from Mainland and Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific suggests at least three dog dispersal events into the region, in addition to the introduction of dingoes to Australia. We see an early introduction of dogs to Island Southeast Asia, which does not appear to extend into the islands of Oceania. A shared haplogroup identified between Iron Age Taiwanese dogs, terminal-Lapita and post-Lapita dogs suggests that at least one dog lineage was introduced to Near Oceania by or as the result of interactions with Austronesian language speakers associated with the Lapita Cultural Complex. We did not find any evidence that these dogs were successfully transported beyond New Guinea. Finally, we identify a widespread dog clade found across the Pacific, including the islands of Polynesia, which likely suggests a post-Lapita dog introduction from southern Island Southeast Asia.

Source: Nature