Volunteer temple restorers ignite storm over Ayutthaya sema painting

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via The Nation, 16 October 2018: Devotees in Thailand repaint ancient boundary markers as an act of merit-making. Raises interesting questions about living heritage vs the “preservation” of heritage.

A recent case of merit-making at a Buddhist temple in Suphan Buri by painting on bai-sema – the sanctuary’s boundary markers – has raised concern among historians who say such acts have damaged the Ayutthaya-era artefacts.

Singer Suthep Prayoonpitak and his associates last week painted yellow colours on the boundary markers that encircle the main hall of Wat Chai-naram in Ayutthaya for their merit making. Responding to condemnation from a famous historian and some among the public that the group had destroyed centuries-old national heritage, Suthep replied they had first asked for the abbot’s permission before painting the artefacts.

Source: Volunteer temple restorers ignite storm over Ayutthaya sema painting

Public Lecture: Angkor, Diversity, and Archaeological Explorations at Phnom Kulen, Cambodia

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A talk by Kyle Latinis and Stephen Murphy on the recent Singapore-Cambodia excavations at Phnom Kulen will be held next Tuesday at the Malay Heritage Centre in Singapore.

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Angkor, Diversity, and Archaeological Explorations at Phnom Kulen, Cambodia
Venue: Malay Heritage Centre, Singapore
Date: 25 August 2015
Time: 7 pm

Phnom Kulen (Mahendraparvata), a mountain range near Siem Reap, Cambodia is considered the birthplace of Angkorian civilization (9th–14th centuries CE). A joint Singaporean (NSC at ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute; in collaboration with ACM) and Cambodian (APSARA) team investigated the nature of Phnom Kulen’s history, settlement, environment and culture over the last two years; to include archaeological excavations as well as environmental and ethnographic research.

Recent fieldwork in June 2015 targeted enigmatic Sema Stone sites located near the possible “Royal Residence” (Banteay Site) of 9th century Angkorian “founder” and King, Jayavarman II. The Banteay Site was the focus of 2014 investigations by the ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute and APSARA crew. Overall research results have relevance for testing economic, political, and socio-cultural interaction models. It also sheds new light into the origins of early Angkorian civilization. The Sema Stone sites point towards cultural contact with northeast Thailand during the 8th – 9th centuries. They appear to indicate the existence of a Buddhist monastic settlement on Phnom Kulen similar to those in northeast Thailand during this period. The joint research endeavors have significant contributions to regional partnership strengthening.