[Talk] Green, Blue, and White: The Tang Shipwreck Ceramic and Precious Metal Cargo and Global Trade in Medieval Asia

In conjunction with the Belitung Shipwreck exhibition at the Asia Society in New York, John Guy will be giving a lecture on 22 May which will also be broadcast live on the web.

Scholar and curator John Guy explores the unique insights that shipwreck archaeology can bring to our understanding of historical trade and exchange in ancient Asia.

Source: Green, Blue, and White: The Tang Shipwreck Ceramic and Precious Metal Cargo and Global Trade in Medieval Asia | New York | Asia Society

[Talk] Learning from Ancient and Modern Trade in the Spice Islands of Eastern Island Southeast Asia

Prof Peter Lape will be talking about his work in the eastern Indonesian islands at UCLA on Wednesday.

In historical times between the 16th and 20th centuries, the so-called spice islands of what is now eastern Indonesia were a zone of intensive interisland and long distance maritime trade. Archaeological evidence suggests that this interaction intensity has a relatively long history, dating to the early Neolithic period 3,500 years ago. Today, the large and small islands in this area remains intensively interconnected, and some of this trade is done by people using traditional boats operating under sail or paddle. This paper will explore how we can apply data from these different realms (documentary history, archaeology and ethnography) to expand our understanding of island connectivity at different times in the past and present, with implications for the future.

Source: Learning from Ancient and Modern Trade in the Spice Islands of Eastern Island Southeast Asia

[Talk] Seeing Through the Forest: Lost Cities, Remote Sensing and LiDAR Applications in Archaeology

If anyone is in Singapore tomorrow, catch Dr Kyle Latinis’ talk at ISEAS

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is one of the newest remote sensing technologies to be used for archaeology and related sciences. Results are revolutionizing the field, especially among researchers studying ancient urban landscapes in Southeast Asia (The Guardian, 11 June 2016).

LiDAR applications digitally peel away forest canopies and vegetative cover resulting in sophisticated surface images and detailed topographic maps of natural and cultural landscapes. LiDAR data has been integral for recent research and training initiatives at the Nalanda–Sriwijaya Centre (NSC).

LiDAR abilities cannot be underestimated. However, there are limitations. Ground-truthing through archaeological surveys and excavations continue to play necessary and central roles.

The following discussion will introduce LiDAR technology, capabilities, and limits followed by examples of LiDAR application for two recent NSC projects: Mahendraparvata – the 9th century Angkorian capital city of Jayavarman II, legendary founder of the Angkorian empire; and Koh Ker [Chok Gargyar] – the mysterious 10th century Angkorian capital city of Jayavarman IV, often depicted as a rogue usurper king. Future NSC research possibilities using LiDAR applications for other Southeast Asia sites will also be introduced.

Source: Lecture: Seeing Through the Forest: Lost Cities, Remote Sensing and LiDAR Applications in Archaeology – ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

Talk: The emergence of state and cities in southeast Sumatra

Readers in London may be interested in this upcoming talk by Dr Pierre-Yves Manguin at SOAS.

At the origins of Srivijaya: The emergence of state and cities in southeast Sumatra
Dr Pierre-Yves Manguin (Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient)

Date: 14 March 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Source: 20170314 – Seminar – Pierre-Yves Manguin

Siam Society – Lecture

If anyone’s in Bangkok next week (9 March), I’m giving an introductory talk about the rock art of Southeast Asia at the Siam Society. Hope to see you there, especially if you follow this site!

Rock Art: The Unseen Art of Southeast Asia. A Talk By Noel Hidalgo Tan

Source: Siam Society – Lecture

Prof. Ashley Thompson Inaugural Lecture – Double Realities: The Complex Lives of Ancient Khmer Statuary

Readers in London may be interested in Ashley Thompson’s lecture in early May. Booking required.

Prof. Ashley Thompson Inaugural Lecture – Double Realities: The Complex Lives of Ancient Khmer Statuary
Date: 5 May 2016
Venue: Brunei Gallery
Time: 6.30 pm

The Angkorian empire produced one of the most remarkable sculptural traditions in human history. Starting from Hindu and, to a lesser extent, Buddhist models, Khmer artists invented bold new techniques and sophisticated aesthetic principles that underpinned their exploration of anthropomorphic statuary. And yet the representational presuppositions of Western aesthetics only cloud our understanding of this innovation: perhaps art, in this context, does not stand in a mimetic relationship to the world, but rather itself constitutes an ‘original’, an embodied and multivalent reality that calls for a different relationship with its ‘viewer’.

This lecture will begin with a reflection on the Khmer ‘portrait statue’, considered in the traditional art history of ancient Cambodia to have been a late and peculiar invention of the reign of the last of the great Angkorian kings. However I will challenge this view, and indeed take the double ontology of these sculptures – embodying at once gods and people – to in fact constitute the baseline reality of essentially all Angkorian and post-Angkorian statuary.

Nothing is as it seems: even Angkor itself, this exemplary outlier of the Sanskrit ‘cosmopolis’ that flowered in the late first and early second millennia CE, is construed both as a fiercely singular local dominion and a universal kingdom. Microcosm and macrocosm are each set off against and magnified in the other. Within this context, a number of otherwise incongruous phenomena can be understood as manifestations of an underlying bifid structure: from the fluid ambiguity in the gendering of certain anthropomorphic representations to the determination with which religious practitioners, then as now, experience their own lives as participating in a larger cosmic life variously conveyed by art.

More details and booking information here.

Workshop: The Heritage of Ancient and Urban Sites

For readers in Singapore, the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre is holding a two-day seminar on the intersection between cultural heritage and public participation.

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The workshop will see presentations from Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. Register by emailing nscevents@iseas.edu.sg

LiDAR talk in Bangkok

Another talk for readers in Bangkok – this one by Damian Evans on LiDAR in Angkor.

Using Airborne Laser Scanning to Uncover, Map and Analyse Ancient Landscapes in Cambodia & Beyond
A Talk by Dr. Damian Evans
Date: Thursday, 4 February 2016
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: The Siam Society

Traditionally, scholarship on the Angkor period has focussed on three main areas: architecture, inscriptions and art history. In recent years however there has been increasing interest in the human and environmental context of the temples, and archaeologists are beginning to understand much more about the urban and
agricultural networks that stretched between and also far beyond the well-known monuments of places like Angkor. Even though the cities that surrounded the temples were made of wood, and the water management systems were mostly made of earth, we can still very clearly see and map the traces that remain on the surface of the landscape using remote sensing techniques such as aerial photos and satellite imagery. Until recently, however, archaeologists who focussed on the mapping methods faced one very serious limitation: the fact that vegetation covers much of the areas of interest, and limits our ability to see and map these ancient features. Since 2012 however archaeologists in Cambodia have been using the technique of airborne laser scanning or “lidar”, which has the unique ability to “see through” vegetation and map archaeological remains, even underneath thick forest or jungle. This presentation will outline past, present and future projects involving lidar, including presenting some preliminary results from the latest lidar campaign in 2015, which increased coverage from Angkor to include a wide array of sites across Cambodia, and discuss potential applications in other countries in Southeast Asia including Thailand.

Lecture: Life of the Buddha in the oldest Thai illustrated manuscripts

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this lecture happening this evening at the Jim Thompson House.

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Life of the Buddha in the oldest Thai illustrated manuscripts
A lecture by Professor Baas Terwiel.
Date: Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Time: 5 – 7 p.m.
Venu: Ayara Hall, The Jim Thompson House Museum Compound

The legends surrounding the life of Siddhartha Gotama, also known as the Buddha, have inspired an immense artistic output in all Buddhist countries. In this lecture Professor Terwiel will focus on depictions on paper folding books from Thailand, in particular material from the oldest preserved Thai picture books:samutphap traiphum (สมุดภาพ ไตรภูมิ), or the Picture Books of the Three Worlds. He will look at how the major events of the Buddha’s life were thematized, and he will also address matters of style. Then he will tentatively formulate some principles of Thai iconography and characteristics of the Thai visual arts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries A.D.

Professor Terwiel will conduct his lecture in English.”, but a Thai translation will be handed out.

Prior to his retirement in 2006, Baas Terwiel was Professor of Thai and Lao Languages and Literatures at the University of Hamburg, having previously taught in Canberra, Munich and Leiden. In the late 1960s, he conducted fieldwork on Buddhism in rural Thailand and, since then, has published extensively on many aspects of Thai history, religion and politics. His publications included Monks And Magic. An Analysis of Religious Ceremonies in Central Thailand (1976), reprinted for the fourth time in 2012, Thailand’s Political History. From the 13th Century to Recent Times (2011) “Siam”. Ten Ways to look at Thailand’s Past (2012)

Public lecture: The Rise and Fall of the Khmer Empire

Readers in Los Angeles might be interested in the colloquium by Dr Chen Chenratana on the rise and fall of Angkor.

Siem Reap Reflections (CAMBODIA/REFLECTION/ANGKOR WAT) VI

The Rise and Fall of the Khmer Empire during the Angkor period, 9th to 15th century A.D.
Colloquium with Dr. CHEN Chanratana, University of Cambodia
Date: February 16, 2016
Time: 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Venue: 10383 Bunche Hall, UCLA Campus, Los Angeles, CA

Archaeological research in Cambodia began in the late 19th century following the rediscovery of the lost jungle capital of the Khmer Empire by French explorers. The artistic and architectural magnificence of the Khmer civilization immediately attracted the greatest scholars of France and Europe. American and Asian scholars later joined the mission to better understand this brilliant culture. People from around the world participated in grand efforts to map, excavate and restore ancient structures and countless studies, articles and books were published about the Khmer.

Tragically, war in Southeast Asia during the 1970s stopped academic progress for nearly 25 years. Cambodia did not begin to recover until the early 1990s when the present government restored order in the nation. In 1994, Angkor Wat was registered as a World Heritage site attracting many international heritage groups to Cambodia and the Angkor region. Working with local experts from Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the APSARA Authority these organizations are once again continuing the mission to restore and preserve the legacy of Khmer temples and heritage.

The presentation will focus on the Rise and the Fall of the Khmer Empire during the Angkor period, from the 9th to 15th centuries A.D., drawing on the most recent research findings from local and international institutions.

More details here.