Secrets Of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck & Early Trade In Asia

Antiques and the Arts Weekly, 09 May 2017

In “Secrets of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia,” running through June 4 at the Asia Society Museum, 78 choice artifacts conjure trade on the flourishing maritime silk route that extended from the Abbasid caliphate to the Tang empire in the Ninth Century. As it turns out, active trading had been underway centuries before the Portuguese had arrived in search of goods and spices.

Curator Adrianna Proser hopes visitors will find the show intriguing, not only for its treasures but for its exploration “of the level of activity and exchange and trade that was crossing a large segment of the world so much earlier than people realized.”

Source: Secrets Of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck & Early Trade In Asia

Rock Art exhibition at Indonesia’s National Gallery

Jakarta Globe, 03 May 2017

National Gallery of Indonesia holds a rock art exhibition called “Wimba Kala” at the National Gallery of Indonesia in Central Jakarta until May 15.

Source: National Gallery Exhibition Reinterprets Indonesia’s Rock Art | Jakarta Globe

Buddhist antiques on display in Da Nang

Hundreds of artefacts that have been stored in a temple in Da Nang will go on display in Vietnam’s first Buddhist culture museum.

The abbot of Quan The Am Temple showing off one of the Buddha statues on display. Source: Viet Nam News 20151214
The abbot of Quan The Am Temple showing off one of the Buddha statues on display. Source: Viet Nam News 20151214

Buddhist antiques displayed in Da Nang
Viet Nam News, 14 December 2015

Antique statues on display in Vietnam’s first Buddhist culture museum
Thanh Nien News, 15 December 2015

Hundreds of Buddhist antiques which have been stored in a temple in Da Nang City for many years will be exhibited to the public on December 24 for the first time.

The municipal People’s Committee decided to establish the Buddhist Cultural Museum as a place to display the antiques in the Quan The Am Temple, Ngu Hanh Son District, by the end of 2014. This is the first Buddhist Culture Museum in Viet Nam.

Huynh Dinh Quoc Thien, deputy director of the Da Nang Museum, said they accidentally discovered a “treasure-house” of about 500 objects, with more than 200 antiques which were assessed at the Quan The Am Temple.

“We sent experts to study this large number of antiques with assistance from the temple’s monks,” said Thien.

Full stories here. and here.

Feature on Dr Nancy Beavan

Cambodia AsiaLife features an interview with Dr Nancy Beavan (a personal friend of mine), who is behind the Living in the Shadow of Angkor exhibition at the National Museum of Cambodia.

Dr Nancy Beavan. Source: Asialife Cambodia 20151107
Dr Nancy Beavan. Source: Asialife Cambodia 20151107

Nancy Beavan
Asialife Cambodia, 07 November 2015

The new Living in the Shadow of Angkor exhibit reveals long-hidden secrets about Cambodia’s 15th to 17th century ethnic minorities, through their unique jar burial rituals.

Full story here.

Exhibition on the Jar Burials of Cambodia

My friend Nancy Beavan organised an exhibition at the National Museum in Phnom Penh on her work investigating the jar burials of the Cardamom Mountains. It’s on for a few months, so be sure to check it out!

Burial jars and coffins exhibited at the National Museum in Phnom Penh
Burial jars and coffins exhibited at the National Museum in Phnom Penh

Cardamom Mountains: Body Jars and Cliff Coffins
Khmer Times, 30 September 2015

The remote and mysterious Cardamom Mountains are giving up some of their secrets – burial jars and wooden coffins – to the public as part of an exhibition that begins today at the National Museum.

After a decade researching the mysteries of the Cardamom Mountain people, Nancy Beavan, a senior research fellow at New Zealand’s University of Otago and an expert in radiocarbon dating, will be exhibiting her findings as part of the “Living in the Shadow of Angkor” project at the museum.

The project seeks to broaden the breadth of understanding of Cambodian history outside of the Angkor period.

The exhibit will be the first time the public can see how the immense project began. In a separate room in the museum, one can see the recreation of the hoard of burial jars and a dozen coffins hidden on a ledge in remote jungles of Cambodia – which have stayed secret for centuries.

Full story here.

Ho Chi Minh City Museum opens permanent exhibition on the Thang Long Citadel

The Ho Chi Minh City Museum opened a permanent exhibition last month on the artefacts from Hanoi’s Thang Long Citadel.

 Artefacts from the Thang Long Imperial Citadel are on display at the Museum of HCM City. Source: Viet Nam News 20150928
Artefacts from the Thang Long Imperial Citadel are on display at the Museum of HCM City. Source: Viet Nam News 20150928

Citadel artefacts displayed in HCM City
Viet Nam News, 28 September 2015

A permanent exhibition of artefacts from the Thang Long-Ha Noi Imperial Citadel opens today at the Museum of HCM City.

The exhibition includes 300 photos, maps, drawings, documentary films and artefacts reflecting the architecture, culture and history of the citadel.

The citadel was built in the 11th century during the Ly dynasty, to mark the independence of Dai Viet, the former name of Viet Nam.

The central section of the citadel was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 31, 2010.

Full story here.

Hoi An holds shipwreck exhibition

An exhibition in the the heritage town of Hoi An showcases a vast array of artefacts retrieved from Vietnam’s waters in recent years.

Shipwreck exhibition in Quang Nam. Source: Tuoi Tre News 20150913
Shipwreck exhibition in Quang Nam. Source: Tuoi Tre News 20150913

Exhibition dedicated to shipwreck artifacts taking place in central Vietnam
Tuoi Tre News, 13 September 2015

Over 1,000 time-honored objects and specimens retrieved from sea wreckage are being displayed in a newly inaugurated exhibition hall in the central province of Quang Nam.

The People’s Committee of Hoi An City, home to the UNESCO-recognized Hoi An Ancient Town, on Saturday opened the hall, housed in a storm shelter structure in Tan Hiep Commune.

The space is dedicated to preserving and displaying articles scooped up from shipwrecks off Cu Lao Cham Island, 15km off the province’s coast, and its neighboring waters.

Full story here.

New York Times’ Review of Philippine Gold

The New York Times’ review of the Philippine Gold exhibition at the Asia Society.

Gold image of a female with upraised hands. Source: New York Times, 24 September 2015
Gold image of a female with upraised hands. Source: New York Times, 24 September 2015

Review: ‘Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms
New York Times, 24 September 2015

More than half a millennium before Ferdinand Magellan reached the archipelago now called the Philippines in 1521, a number of related societies thrived there. Little is known about them. They left no enduring architecture, monuments or literature. One thing is certain, however: They were astoundingly skillful goldsmiths.

The star of the show and the biggest piece is a gleaming sash that could be mistaken for a futuristic ammunition belt. Made of myriad gold beads, it’s designed to be worn over one shoulder, across the chest and to the hip where one end threads through a loop and concludes with the setting for a now lost finial. Nearly five feet long and square sectioned (about an inch on a side), it weighs about nine pounds.

Another striking piece, called a kamagi, consists of 12 necklaces strung together into a nearly 15-foot-long chain punctuated by small, colored stones. The individual necklaces are composed of smooth, interlocking beads that combine to form flexible, snakelike lengths of gold.

Full story here.

Unique Iron age pottery vessel on display in Taiwan

A unique 1,800-year-old anthropomorphic jar in Taiwan is on display at New Taipei, giving visitors a chance to appreciate its craftsmanship.

Artifact heightens interest in prehistoric New Taipei
Taiwan Today, 23 September 2015

A possibly 1,800-year-old pottery vessel unearthed over a quarter of a century ago in northern Taiwan was recently put back on display at New Taipei City-based Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology.

Dug up in 1989 at Shihsanhang Archaeological Site in Bali District, the red-brown earthenware object with a human face on its body is the only one of its kind found in Taiwan. Experts consider the piece to be a burial item, indicating the existence of religious rituals on the island during the Iron Age.

SMA Director Wu Hsiu-tzu said one of the distinctive characteristics of the vessel is the pattern comprising circles and dots on its collar and bottom. “But what really stands out is the expressive face, with its slit-like eyes, protruding eyebrows, delicate mouth and large ears.”

Full story here.

Philippine gold exhibition opens in New York

An exhibition of gold artefacts from the Philippines opened earlier this month at the Asia Society in New York. Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms will run until 3 January 2016.

Gold vessel in the form of kinnari. Source: Asia Society 20150911
Gold vessel in the form of kinnari. Source: Asia Society 20150911

Phillipines History to Shine at Asia Society Museum
Newsweek, 06 September 2015

Philippine Gold Glitters in the Big Apple
The Filipino Express, 07 September 2015

A Golden Discovery in the Philippines
Asia Society, 11 September 2015

When Filipino worker Berto Morales was digging on a government irrigation project in 1981, he literally struck gold. But what he found that day was worth more than its weight—he had uncovered evidence of a lost civilization.

On Friday, Asia Society New York unveiled its exhibition Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms, displaying more than 100 gold artifacts on loan from the Ayala Museum and the Central Bank of the Philippines in Manila. Most objects trace back to the Kingdom of Butuan — a still scarcely understood civilization centered on the island of Mindanao that rose to prominence in the 10th century before mysteriously declining in the 13th. But it took more than seven centuries for the objects to be found, and once they were, they wouldn’t be seen in the West for another several decades.

Gold has always factored into the history of the Philippines, a country still estimated to have as much as $1 trillion worth of untapped deposits beneath its surface. And despite what little is known about Butuan some aspects of its society clearly revolved around the precious metal.

Full story here, here and here.