[Talk] Looking Beyond the Temples: Exploring the Residences of the Ancient Angkorians

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Readers in New York may be interested in this talk by Dr Alison Carter at the Archaeological Society of Staten Island on Sunday, 16 September.

Looking Beyond the Temples: Exploring the Residences of the Ancient Angkorians
Dr. Alison Carter
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Oregon

Angkor, centered in the modern nation of Cambodia, was one of the largest pre-industrial settlements in the world and has been the focus of more than a century of epigraphic, art historical, and architectural research. However, few scholars have examined the lives of the people who built the temples, kept the shrines running, produced the food, and managed the water. This presentation will focus on Dr. Carter’s recent work with the Greater Angkor Project examining Angkorian habitation areas and specifically the excavation of a house mound within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure. Through this multidisciplinary research, we aim to better understand the nature and timing of occupation within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure and the types of activities taking place within an Angkorian household.

Source: September 2018: Dr. Alison Carter, “Looking Beyond the Temples: Exploring the Residences of the Ancient Angkorians” | Archaeology Society of Staten Island

[Talk] The Enigma Of Hindu-Buddhist Art In Ancient Kedah

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Readers in Kuala Lumpur may be interested in this talk about the Bujang Valley archaeological sites by Dr Nasha bin Rodziadi Khaw on 22 September. The talk will be held at ILHAM, a public art gallery.

The Bujang Valley has seen the discovery of archaeological remains that are believed to be related to the port of Ancient Kedah. Historical accounts and archaeological discoveries show that the area functioned as a trading point as well as a centre for iron production from the 2nd to 14th Century C.E. A significant number of artefacts relevant to Hindu-Buddhist art were also found, such as sculptures, shrines and inscriptions. Issues regarding the cultural origin of those remains, and questions of whether or not they were commissioned and made locally remain ambiguous. This presentation by Nasha Khaw will discuss the form and function of Hindu-Buddhist remains from Ancient Kedah, past opinions by scholars on their cultural origin, and present theories based on recent scholarship.

Source: The Enigma Of Hindu-Buddhist Art In Ancient Kedah: A Historical Discourse | ILHAM Kuala Lumpur

[Talk] Writing as a Marker of Identity in Early South and Southeast Asia

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this talk by Prof. Himanshu Prabha Ray at the National University of Singapore on 12 September.

‘DEFINING TRANSNATIONAL MARITIME CULTURAL HERITAGE: WRITING AS A MARKER OF IDENTITY IN EARLY SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA’
Speaker: Prof Himanshu Prabha Ray (Anneliese Maier Fellow, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich)
Date: Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Venue: AS8, Level 6, Conference Room (06-46)

Within the narrative of terrestrial histories of nation states, accounts of maritime cultural heritage often become an extension of land-based concerns. A paradigm shift to understanding the history of the sea destabilizes linear mapping of time and chronologies of political dynasties, empires and trading activity that helped sustain the quest for luxuries. This shift entails re-establishing the centrality of the sea and viewing it not only as a space permitting movement, but as a site of cultural encounters and shared experiences, as expressed through the medium of writing in a common script, i.e. the Brahmi script. The languages expressed were diverse and included Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tamil and Sinhala, as evident from inscriptions on pots recovered in South and Southeast Asia. In this presentation I revisit sites along the east coast of India and investigate maritime networks across Bay of Bengal as indicated by the presence of inscribed pottery recorded in archaeological investigations. An important marker of the interconnectedness of sites extending from lower Bengal to coastal Sri Lanka is the Rouletted Ware, first identified at the well-known site of Arikamedu on the Tamil coast and described by Mortimer Wheeler in 1946 as an indicator of Roman trade. In recent years, not only has Rouletted Ware been found in coastal Malaysia, Thailand, Java, Bali and Vietnam, but rigorous analysis of Tissamaharama in Sri Lanka has helped define its date from 2nd and 3rd century BCE to 1st century BCE. It is also evident that many Rouletted Ware pots were inscribed and continued in circulation for a longer period. Here I will primarily focus on patterns of use/distribution of inscribed pottery in an attempt to emphasise both temporal and spatial variations of cultural contacts across South and Southeast Asia and the extent to which writing was used as a marker of identity in maritime Asia in the centuries around the Common Era. The larger issue being addressed is the circulation of knowledge across the seas and the agency responsible for these circuits. Can these complexities be accommodated as Outstanding Universal Values that can underwrite transnational cultural routes to be nominated for World Heritage status?

Source: ‘Defining Transnational Maritime Cultural Heritage: Writing as a Marker of Identity in early South and Southeast Asia’ (Wednesday, 12 September 2018) – Southeast Asian Studies @ NUS

[Lecture] The Protuket: the Thai-Portuguese Catholic Community, From Ayutthaya to Bangkok

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Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk at the Siam Society on 30 August at 7.30 pm

The Protuket: the Thai-Portuguese Catholic Community, From Ayutthaya to Bangkok. A Talk by Miguel Castelo-Branco

The Portuguese are acknowledged as pioneers of Western relations with the Kingdom of Siam, dating back to the early years of the 16th century. The diplomatic alliance began in 1511, when Portugal sent a delegation to Siam during the reign of Rama Thibodi II, who ruled as King of Ayutthaya from 1491 to 1529. The Treaty of Friendship and Commerce, signed in 1518, is taken as the auspicious beginning for this alliance, which this year has been marked by numerous celebrations in both countries, attesting to 500 years of enduring friendship.

After the 1767 sacking of Ayutthaya, King Rama II (of the Rattanakosin period), facilitated the setting up of the first Portuguese consulate by granting land on the side of the Chao Phraya River. Over the centuries, relations between the two countries have grown in strength, particularly after King Chulalongkorn’s first visit to Portugal as part of his 1897 European tour.

Crucially, as well as allowing Portugal to set up a trading post in Ayutthaya, the 1518 Treaty also guaranteed religious freedom for the sizeable Portuguese community. Numerous Catholic churches in Bangkok attest to the legacy of Portuguese-Siamese relations and to the well-integrated nature of Portuguese descendants into Thai society.

Tonight’s lecture aims to offer a general understanding of what was, for over 300 years, a strategically fundamental group in balancing between Ayutthaya, Bangkok and the Western World.

More information here.

[Lecture] The Invisible Paintings of Angkor Wat

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If anyone’s in Bangkok this Thursday (16 August), I’ll be giving a lecture at the Siam Society on the Invisible Paintings of Angkor Wat. I gave a similar lecture at the Asian Civilisations Museum earlier this year. The lecture begins at 7.30 pm.

In 2014, a paper published in the journal Antiquity revealed “invisible” paintings on the walls of Angkor Wat. These paintings, found throughout the temple, are mostly invisible to the naked eye. Some of the most indiscernible paintings are compositions of entire wall murals, apparently unfinished. This talk will reveal the invisible paintings of Angkor Wat, along with other historical graffiti found at the site. The post-Angkorian corpus of paintings and engravings present at the Angkor Wat illustrate a long history of occupation, reuse and conversion, shedding light on a common misconception that the temple was abandoned to the jungle before being “rediscovered” by the French and the Western world in the 18th century, and the transformation of Angkor Wat from a 12th century Hindu temple into a Buddhist stupa.

Source: The Invisible Paintings of Angkor Wat. A Talk by Noel H. Tan | The Siam Society

[Lecture] Ten Years of Archaeological Research in Indonesia: Highlights from the National Archaeology Research Centre

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this lecture at ISEAS on Wednesday.

Ten Years of Archaeological Research in Indonesia: Highlights from the National Archaeology Research Centre
Date: 08 Aug 2018
Time: 10:00am – 11:30am
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2

About the Lecture
The National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS) was established shortly after Indonesia’s independence, on the foundations of the Dutch colonial Antiquity Service (Oudheidkundige Dienst, 1913). For about 105 years after its creation, PUSLIT ARKENAS has conducted archaeological surveys and research on land as well as underwater throughout the archipelago. The last ten years saw groundbreaking discoveries from the prehistory to the WWII periods. These discoveries will be presented at this seminar. These endeavors range from the Harimau cave, a site once inhabited by the Sriwijayan people on the estuary of Musi River (South Sumatra), to the early Mataram period Liyangan settlement site in Java, on the slope of Mt Sindoro (9th c.), and lastly, the WWII shipwreck of the German U-boat which sank in the Java Sea.

About the Speakers
Bambang Budi Utomo is an archaeologist at the Indonesian National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS). He has participated in numerous research projects in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Lesser Sunda over the years. He has also written for various national newspapers and served as a reference source for semi-documentary films produced by private television stations. His primary research focuses on the Sriwijaya and Malayu periods, specifically on the influences of Sriwijaya in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, the Malay Peninsula, and Southern Thailand. More recently he has used maritime archaeology and history to try to understand Sriwijaya from a maritime cultural perspective in the hope of helping Indonesians understand their strong maritime connections that come from living in an archipelago.

Shinatria Adhityatama graduated from Gadjah Mada University in 2012 with a BA in Archaeology. He has been a maritime archaeologist at the National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS) in Jakarta, Indonesia since 2013. He is an experienced diver with more than 400 logged dives since 2006. Shinatria has been involved in domestic and international maritime archaeology training and maritime archaeological projects in Indonesia and Australian waters, including the exploration of a German U-boat in Java Sea in 2013; the exploration of prehistoric maritime culture in Misool Island, Raja Ampat in 2014; a survey of the HMAS Perth in the Sunda Strait in 2014; the exploration of underwater archaeology in the outer islands of Indonesia; Natuna Island in 2015; research for shipwrecks around Belitung Island in 2015; the Fortuyn Project in 2016; submerged prehistoric landscapes in Matano Lake in 2016; and the HMAS Perth project in 2017.

[Lecture] Buddhist Accounts of Maritime Crossing in the Southern Seas

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this talk at ISEAS, as part of the Singapore’s Pasts lecture series.

Date: Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Time: 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2

 

About the Lecture
The talk will present select passages of Chinese, Sanskrit, and Tibetan sources narrating the sea passages of Buddhist monks travelling by ship between India and China via Southeast Asia. In particular, it will discuss the trope of the “miraculous aversion of shipwrecks”, highlighting the elements of intertextuality that emerge from the accounts. It will then analyse a similar motif found in the Sejarah Melayu, namely the avoidance of shipwrecks by Sang Nila Utama on the occasion of his crossing of the Straits. On the basis of this passage and other textual and archaeological evidence, it will argue that the Sejarah Melayu features pre-Islamic elements drawn from a “Buddhist fund” going back to the polity of Śrīvijaya.

About the Speaker
Andrea Acri (PhD Leiden University, 2011) is Assistant Professor in Tantric Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (PSL University, Paris), and Associate Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre. He has held various research and teaching positions in India, Singapore, the UK, and Australia. He has authored articles in international academic journals and published edited volumes on Shaiva and Buddhist tantric traditions in South and Southeast Asia, as well as wider cultural and historical dynamics of Intra-Asian connectivity. His monograph Dharma Pātañjala, originally appeared in the Gonda Indological Studies Series (Egbert Forsten/Brill, 2011), has been recently republished in India by Aditya Prakashan (New Delhi, 2017), and is being published in Indonesian translation by EFEO/Gramedia.

[Lecture] The Orang Laut and the Realm of the Straits (Negara Selat)

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this talk by Leonard Andaya on Wednesday.

The Orang Laut and the Realm of the Straits (Negara Selat)
Date: Wednesday, 25 July 2018
Time: 10.00 am – 11.30 am
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2

About the Lecture
When Raffles visited the island of Singapore in 1819, he found only a few scattered houses of the Orang Laut and some Malay followers of the Temenggung of Johor. Still heavily forested, there was no evidence the island could ever rival the port city of Penang, established by the British in 1786. However, it was not the island but the seas around it that were its key geographical feature.

The straits off Singapore were the major thoroughfares for trading ships from Europe, Middle East, and India in the west, and China, Japan, Korea, and Ryukyu in the east. The Malays, who occupied both sides of the Straits, were the primary beneficiaries of this trade, but they relied heavily on the services of their allies, the Orang Laut or Sea People.

Yet the role of the Orang Laut has been largely forgotten or ignored. A contributing factor is the historian’s gaze which has been largely landlocked and unable to comprehend that the “few scattered houses of the Orang Laut” masked the reality of a thriving community pursuing a maritime lifestyle.

This presentation will examine the historical evidence in an effort to restore the Orang Laut to their rightful place as major players in the history of the world of the Straits from early times to the nineteenth century.

About the Speaker
Leonard Y. Andaya received his BA from Yale University and his MA and PhD from Cornell University. He is at present professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Hawai’i, and has written extensively on the early modern period, particularly of Indonesia and Malaysia. His most recent publications are Leaves of the Same Tree: Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008); (with Barbara Watson Andaya) A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); and (with Barbara Watson Andaya) A History of Malaysia, Third Edition (London: Palgrave, 2017). He was the Tan Chin Tuan Professor in Malay Studies at NUS in 2011-2012 and is currently the inaugural holder of the Yusof Ishak Chair in the Social Sciences at NUS. He is currently writing a history of eastern Indonesia in the early modern period.