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!
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.
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.
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.
There is an exhibition of prehistoric jade in Taipei city, which runs until October 31. Jade from Taiwan was quite far-flung in prehistoric times, reaching across waters in the Philippines and Vietnam as far back as 5,000 years ago.
A prehistoric jade exhibition kicked off July 1 at Taiwan Power Co.’s main hall in Taipei City, highlighting the rich cultural diversity of Taiwan.
Jointly organized by Taitung County-based National Museum of Prehistory and Taipower, “Lightening National Treausres—Prehistoric Taiwan Jade” comprises 55 replicas, including five of priceless NMP-permanent collection items. The bracelet, two brooches, earrings and necklace are confirmed Neolithic Peinan cultural relics and listed as national treasures since 2012 by the Ministry of Culture.
NMP curator Chang Shan-nan said it is not every day that items representing Taiwan’s prehistoric heritage go on display. “I strongly recommend the public takes advantage of this special opportunity to learn more about a lesser-known aspect of Taiwan’s past.”
To celebrate the 60th birthday of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Fine Arts Department is hosting a special exhibition, “Feminine Deities: Buddhism, Hinduism And Indigenous Cults In Thailand”, at the National Museum Bangkok. The objective is to disseminate knowledge about faith and beliefs relating to women in Thailand through the ages via religious sculptures.
The exhibition is divided into four parts — Goddesses: Traditional Beliefs From The Past; Goddesses In Brahmanism-Hinduism: The Supreme Power Of Females; Female Deities In Buddhism: The Power Of Intellect; and Goddesses In Traditional Beliefs: The Power Of Nature.
The first section shows that people have believed in the existence of goddesses since prehistoric times. Goddesses are believed to have supernatural powers, which allow them to control aspects of nature. Accordingly, people believe that they can indirectly influence nature by worshipping goddesses. The Mother Goddess or Earth Goddess is believed to be responsible for the fertility of women and their natural mothering instincts. Sculptures of women produced by ancient civilisations in Europe, Asia, America and Africa provide evidence of the widespread belief in the power of goddesses and the high status of women at that time. Their most notable features are their large hips (signifying the ability to give birth) and breasts (signifying the ability to nurture). Even in the present day, goddesses are still widely worshipped by followers of certain religions.
For the first time, a series of sacred art pieces from Myanmar will be displayed in the U.S. at New York’s Asia Society Museum. Buddhist Art of Myanmar runs from February 10 through May 10 and showcases 70 pieces made from stone, bronze and lacquered wood, along with textiles, paintings and pieces used in rituals from the fifth through the twentieth century. Josette Sheeran, president and CEO of Asia Society says that the exhibit personifies an, “extraordinary moment in art and diplomacy.”
Myanmar, also known as “Burma,” has a lengthy history of colonization – the British controlled the country until 1948. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, and is home to many different faiths including Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. The exhibit is a “reflection of the extraordinary impact of Buddhism,” said Kevin Rudd, president of the society’s Policy Institute and the former prime minister of Australia. At 90 percent, Buddhists make up the largest portion of the population in Myanmar.
Recently-repatriated artefacts from the United States are on display at the National Museum in Bangkok. They were returned from the Bowers Museum in California last year after being determined that they came from looted contexts. A total of 554 pieces were returned, and an opening ceremony yesterday started off the exhibition that will carry on for the rest of the month.
The exhibition is on at the National Museum in Bangkok until 1 March 2015.