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
A profile of Dr John Guy, curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
John Guy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Source: The Hindu 20150214
A detective across centuries
The Hindu, 14 February 2015
The remarkable object on the screen is one of these clues — a yupa stone found in Eastern Borneo that dates back to the fourth century AD. The Sanskrit inscription describes the sacrifices performed by a local king called Mulawarman. “The inscription is in grammatical, perfectly good Sanskrit,” says John Guy, while delivering the Vasant J. Sheth Memorial Lecture during which he uses antiquities to offer a glimpse into the world of the intrepid Tamil traders who ruled the waves before the Gujarati merchants arrived on the scene.
“The Sanskrit inscriptions indicate that local rulers in Southeast Asia employed South Indian Brahmins as advisors and counsellors. The Brahmins were the mechanisms through which the inscriptions and objects of Vedic ritual landed up in these improbable, remote places. There was clearly an Indian presence in Southeast Asia, not just of ideas and religion but of people as well.”
John Guy should know. He is the curator of the Arts of South and South East Asia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Besides building collections and organising blockbuster exhibitions, he acts as a detective across centuries. “I try to reconnect an object with its forgotten history,” he says, pointing out that sometimes all that remains of kingdoms and cultures are a handful of coins and seals, or a few crumbling sculptures. “We can read the past only on the basis of what has survived.”
Full story here.
Here’s a couple of videos related to the current Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia currently exhibiting at the Freer and Sacker Gallery Galleries of the Smithsonian. The first is a news piece on the exhibition by the VOA Khmer Service and is in Khmer.
[youtube YUwgQxZK3bg 500 405]
Readers in Singapore might be interested in this public lecture on the ritual arts of the Cham this Wednesday at the Asian Civilisations Museum.
Cham Ritual Arts
Wednesday, 9 Jul 2008
Asian Civilisations Museum, Ngee Ann Auditorium, 7.00 pm – 8.00 pm
Asian Ceramics in Production and Trade in Southeast Asiaâ€™s â€˜Age of Empiresâ€™
Speaker: John Guy, Senior Curator, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Presented by the Southeast Asia Ceramics Society
Date/Time: Thu 15 Mar 07, 7.30 – 9.00pm
Venue: Level 1, Visitor Briefing Room
The study of ceramics as evidence of material culture is a long established field of enquiry within archaeology, but is relatively new within the associated disciplines of history and art history, where these artefacts are increasingly studied as indicators of cultural dynamics and exchange contacts. This lecture will provide an overview of the way in which the study of historical ceramics in maritime trade both draws on the work of archaeologists and seeks to contextualise these findings and add further layers of meaning by situating them within a broader historical framework.
As excavations increase at mainland Southeast Asian sites, especially Angkor, we must increasingly be alert to the need for secure identification of lesser known imported ceramics that are being discovered. The recent shipwreck evidence will assist us in this process of understanding, interpreting and dating the ceramics which the archaeological landscape of the Southeast Asia is revealing. These ceramics also open up new lines of enquiry into the origins of forms and decorative styles in regional ceramics, most notably in Angkorian-period Khmer ceramic wares, as most dramatically indicated by the Intan and Cirebon cargoes.
Admission is FREE but registration is required. Please register before 13 Mar 2007, by emailing email@example.com and including “SEA Ceramics” in the subject field. Places are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first serve basis.
About the speaker:
John Guy is Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He is well known to members as a widely published specialist on Southeast Asian ceramics and trade ceramic history. He has participated in a number of ceramic site excavations in Southeast Asia, both land and maritime, and most recently spent three days at the Anlong Thom kiln site2, on Phnom Kulen, in Cambodia, the excavation of which was sponsored by the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society.
– Lost at Sea: The Strange Route of the Lena Shoal Junk
– The Ceramics of Southeast Asia : Their Dating and Identification by R. M. Brown
– Oriental trade ceramics in Southeast Asia, 10th to 16th century: Selected from Australian collections, including the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Bodor Collection by J. Guy