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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London university accused of accepting smuggled sculpture

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via The Nation, 14 June 2018: A developing story about the donation of a Lopburi-style sculpture to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, that was accepted without documentation of provenance. The details were first released by Dr Angela Chiu, an independent scholar, on her website.

The Culture and Foreign ministries are following up an accusation made by London University’s prominent School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), that it accepted as a gift a 13th-century sculpture possibly smuggled from Thailand.

Source: London university accused of accepting smuggled sculpture – The Nation

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Reconstructing Krishna at the Cleveland Museum of Art

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via Ideastream.org, 01 March 2018: There is a video attached to the article – click on the link to see.

A 1,400-year-old statue of the Hindu god Krishna is getting a 21st century facelift at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  He was assembled from broken pieces four decades ago, but, it turns out they didn’t quite get it right.

Source: Reconstructing Krishna at the Cleveland Museum of Art

[Lecture] Classical Javanese Figurative Sculpture: Examining ornament and style

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For readers in Singapore, an upcoming lecture in ISEAS

Classical Javanese Figurative Sculpture: Examining ornament and style
Date: Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Time: 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2

About the Lecture
This lecture examines a corpus of free standing Hindu Buddhist figurative sculpture produced in Java in the 9th to 14th century period whose elaborate dress displays textiles with detailed patterns. This surviving body of sculpture, carved in stone in bas relief and cast in metal, varying in both size and condition, now stands in archaeological sites across Java, museums in Indonesia, and beyond. Situated a few degrees south of the equator, the humid climate of Java has ensured that textiles from this period have not survived in situ.

In considering supporting evidence from other regions of Asia, this lecture explores the origins of the medieval textiles depicted on these sculptures, and identifies the types of textiles being represented. It also provides some analysis of specific motifs, such as those on Saiva Buddha sculptures representing tantric iconography.

Additionally this lecture re-examines, through this corpus of sacred sculpture, the impact of the ‘Pāla Style’ from northeast India on the sculpture of Classical Java.

About the Speaker
Dr Lesley S Pullen, is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in art history at SOAS University of London. She was born in Medan, Sumatra and lived in Asia for thirty years. Dr Pullen arrived in London in 1997 and completed at SOAS a Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art, a Taught Masters and in 2017 a PhD. She is currently converting her doctoral thesis “Representation of Textiles on Classical Javanese Sculpture” into a monograph. Her work includes research into the textiles and ornament of India, Central Asia and China, and how these are reflected in Southeast Asian material art. She tutors and lectures on Southeast Asia art history courses at SOAS and the V&A Museum.

Bago palace uses anti-Burmese symbol to attract Thai tourists

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via Coconuts Yangon, 17 January 2018: Kanbawza Thardi Palace in Bago has a statue of an Ayutthaya princess that holds a secret meaning to Thai visitors.

Officials want to attract Thai tourists to a replica of Bayinnaung’s palace by displaying a statue that symbolizes the cruelty of Burmese expansionism.

Source: Bago palace uses anti-Burmese symbol to attract Thai tourists | Coconuts Yangon

Cleveland Museum of Art embarks on radical reconstruction of Cambodian Krishna statue

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via Cleveland.com. 17 December 2017:

The Cleveland Museum of Art is embarking on a yearlong radical makeover of its 7th century Cambodian statue of the Hindu god Krishna aimed at accurately reconstructing the original pose of the artwork.

Source: Cleveland Museum of Art embarks on radical reconstruction of Cambodian Krishna statue (photos)

More Buddha sculptures found at Tonle Snguot site

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via Khmer Times, 09 August 2017: More fragments of Buddha images have been found at the Tonle Snguot, which made the news last week because of the impressive discovery of a 6-foot tall sandstone guardian statue. The new fragments include a possible medicine Buddha.

Four sandstone remnants of Buddha statues dating back to the Jayavarman VII era discovered at an Angkor-era hospital site.

Source: Ancient Buddha remnants found – Khmer Times

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In Kampong Chhnang, a village guards its spiritual guardian from government hands

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via Phnom Penh Post, 28 July 2017: This case from Cambodia highlights the blurred lines between archaeological heritage and folk belief.

Under normal circumstances, found artefacts in Cambodia are handed over to the government and taken to the National Museum. But sometimes – like in an ongoing case in Kampong Chhnang province – the desires and beliefs of villagers clash with the government’s idea of cultural preservation

Source: In Kampong Chhnang, a village guards its spiritual guardian from government hands, Phnom Penh Post