Ancient burial urns found in central Vietnam

No Comments

29 September 2006 (Thanh Nien News)

Thanh Nien News, 29 Sep 2006

Ancient burial urns found in central Vietnam

Archaeologists have discovered 30 burial jars belonging to the 2,500-year-old Sa Huynh civilization in central Vietnam.

The graves together with many artifacts were unearthed at the Con Dai archaeological site in Thua Thua-Hue province’s Huong Tra district.

Apsara dancers of Angkor

No Comments

23 September 2006 (The Star)

The Star, 23 Sep 2006
Apsara dancers of Angkor

I was surrounded by apsara everywhere I turned. They were on walls and pillars, lintels and window frames. An apsara has been variously described as a female divinity, a heavenly dancer and a celestial nymph. An apsara is skilled in dance and music, and said to be irresistible to men. Although they were all carved in stone, I observed that each apsara showed slightly different characteristics, either in facial expression, pose or costume and adornments. I was fascinated by the headdresses and trinkets worn by the dancers and noticed that they had ears stretched by heavy earrings. Elongated ear lobes remind one of Lord Buddha. All the apsaras were presented bare-breasted and they were generously endowed. I think some visitors have not been able to resist rubbing and touching the sculptures because certain parts of the anatomy of a few of these sculptures have been rubbed almost black. Fortunately such vandalism and disrespectful behaviour is not widespread.

Related Books:
Images of the Gods: Khmer Mythology in Cambodia, Laos & Thailand by V. Roveda
Narrative Sculpture and Literary Traditions in South and Southeast Asia (Studies in Asian Art and Archaeology) by J. Fontein and M. J. Klokke (Eds)
Apsarases at Angkor Wat, in Indian context by K. M. Srivastava

First private museum opens in Vietnam

No Comments

21 September 2006 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – First private museum showcasing artefacts from ancient Vietnam is opened.

First private museum opens

The Hoang Long Artifacts Museum in the central province of Thanh Hoa is owned by Hoang Van Thong, who has zoned off 500 sq.m of his own land to establish the first ever private museum in Vietnam. The exhibits range from earthenware from the Dong Son culture in the Bronze Age (from 1000 to 1 BC) and farming tools, weapons, household utensils and personal decorations and antique ceramics from the Ly, Tran and Le dynasties from the late 10th century to the late 18th century.

Related Books:
Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure in Southeast Asia by T. Wells

Archaeology beneath the Sea


For anyone interested in maritime archaeology of the Philippines, AND happen to be at the Australian National University in Canberra, you might want to catch the public lecture by Dr. Eusebio Dizon of the National Museum in Manila, Philippines.

Public Lecture
Archaeology Beneath the Sea: Shipwrecks & Their Cargos in the Philippines

For more than 20 years, the National Museum of the Philippines has been conducting underwater archaeology in Philippine waters with international collaborators. The shipwrecks uncovered include the fifteenth century [tag]Pandanan wreck[/tag], with its cargo of Chinese ceramics, which was accidentally discovered by a pearl farm diver off the coast of Pandanan Island in the southern Philippines. Another key discovery has been the wreck of the San Diego, a Spanish warship that sank off the waters of Fortune Island during a battle with a Dutch ship, the Mauritius in 1600.

Dr Eusebio Dizon is Head of the Underwater Archaeology Section and Curator I in the Archaeology Division, National Museum, Manila, Philippines. He has undertaken extensive fieldwork in both land and underwater archaeological exploration and excavation in the Philippines, United States, India and Southeast Asia.

Dr Dizon is also a Director of the Archaeological Studies Program in the University of the Philippines and a Professorial Lecturer at Ateneo de Manila and Santo Tomas Universities. He was awarded his PhD by the University of Pennsylvania in 1988.

Presented by the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.

Speaker/Host:ANU-Toyota Public Lecture Series 2006
Venue:Lecture Theatre 3, Manning Clark Centre, Union Court, ANU
Date:Thursday, 28 September 2006
Time:6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Enquiries:Diane Whitehead on 6125 4144

History Lost in Cagayan de Oro

No Comments

21 September 2006 (Minda News) – A commentary by Heritage Conservation Advocates (HCA) in the Philippines about the state of archaeological looting there. Incidentally, I’ve been to Cagayan de Oro as a kid, where I was staying with some family friends at the Del Monte pineapple processing factory.

COMMENTARY: History Lost in Cagayan de Oro

Archaeological looting in the Philippines is quite common: Three hundred years of Spanish rule and 40 years of American occupation have created a population largely apathetic to its roots. Widespread poverty and stories about alleged treasures buried by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War have prodded many people to take anything of perceived value from caves and other sites.

This condition has made archaeological work in the Philippines frustrating. Archaeology to most people is a vague occupation, and archaeologists are sometimes suspected as treasure hunters. Their presence in an area may cause looting instead of protection of fossils and relics. When archaeologists leave a site after hours of painstakingly slow scraping, they might find in the morning that their carefully made plot has turned into an ugly, gaping hole.

Tourism official proposes elephant ban at Angkor

No Comments

20 September 2006 (People’s Daily) – First it’s the dogs! Now it’s the elephants! Oh, will this repression of our animal friends never end…

Tourism official proposes elephant ban at Angkor

A tourism official proposed to prohibit elephants from entering Cambodia’s Angkor Park, right after the government enforced a ban of dog at the heritage last week to ensure its peace and cleanness, local media said on Wednesday.

Moeung Sonn, managing director of Eurasie Travel and president of the National Association of Tourism Enterprises, was quoted by the Cambodia Daily as saying that the pachyderms carrying visitors to the temples might be a hazard to the daily 2,000 to 3,000 walking tourists who went to the nearby mountain to watch the sunset.

The elephants were too heavy, which underlined disasters for the tourists who used the same paths with them, he said.

Categories: Angkor Cambodia Tourism

How artists view Sapa’s ancient rock carvings

No Comments

20 September 2006 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – This article has made me change my “cave drawings” category to “Cave Art / Rock Art”.

Vietnam Net Bridge, 20 Sep 2006

How artists view Sapa’s ancient rock carvings

Artistic interpretations of the strange rock carvings around Sapa are the theme of a photographic exhibition organized by the Fine Arts Institute, the Southeast Prehistory Center and the Lao Cai Department of Culture and Information at the Hanoi University of Fine Arts until the end of September.

Valuable artefacts found in Thua Thien-Hue

No Comments

19 September 2006 (VietNam Net Bridge)

Valuable artefacts found in Thua Thien-Hue

Archaeologists have discovered more than 10 common graves with many agate balls and other artefacts in the Con Dai archaeological site, Huong Chu commune, Huong Tra district, Thua Thien-Hue province.
According to the archaeologists, the newly excavated graves and artefacts at the site belong to the Sa Huynh culture which dates back over 2,000 year . They provide further evidence that an Early Metal Age culture once existed in Thua Thien-Hue.

Meet the authors: The Zheng He Epic

No Comments

For those of you in Singapore, an opportunity for you to meet the authors of The Zheng He Epic by Select Books:

Select warmly welcomes you to meet the authors of The Zheng He Epic
Drs. Tan Ta Sien &
Dr Chia Lin Sien (eds.)

6.30 pm, Friday, 22 September 2006 at Select Books

About the Book:
Zheng He Epic or Zheng He Si Shi (English version) is a massive, lavishly illustrated coffee-table book (366 pages) showing historical sites, artefacts, documents and painting/drawings of historical figures and scenes related to Zheng He. The Chinese version of the book was jointly published in May 2005 by Yunnan People’s Publishing Co., Yunnan Fine Arts Publishers and Aurora Publishing Co. and was supported by the International Zheng He Society and Drs Tan Ta Sen personally. The book traces the personal history and exploits of Zheng He and his ancestors, who were Muslims who had emigrated to China at least a century before the birth of Zheng He. His grandfather, Ma Haji, and father were both high-ranked officials of the Yuan Dynasty. There are details of his birthplace in Kunming (Yunnan) and Nanjing where he had served as a high official in the employ of Prince Yan who later ascended to become Emperor Yongle. Details of the fleets and shipyards are provided. This is followed by highly absorbing accounts of each of his seven voyages including his activities and contributions to countries that he had visited as well as the religious sites and relics that remain there as testament to Zheng He’s visits. There are also accounts of ceremonies devoted to Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea. A number of well-known Chinese scholars have also contributed to this volume essays that reflect a diversity of views.

About the Authors
Drs. Tan Ta Sen: Research Officer, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (1966-1968), Assistant Professor and Head, Southeast Asian Studies Programme, Nanyang University (1969-1978). Since 2002, Director, Cheng Ho Cultural Museum and President, International Zheng He Society.

Dr Chia Lin Sien, formerly Associate Professor, National University of Singapore; Academic Advisor, Singapore Chinese Chamber Institute of Business (SCCIOB) and currently, Project Director, StarG3 Technologies Pte Ltd.

Select Books Pte Ltd

19 Tanglin Road #03-15

Tanglin Shopping Centre

Singapore 247909

Tel: 6732-1515


Related Books:
Zheng He by M. Yamashita
Zheng He: China and the Oceans in the Early Ming Dynasty, 1405-1433 by E. L. Dreyer and P. N. Stearns
When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433 by L. Levathes

Angkor temples a dog-free zone

No Comments

18 September 2006 (Independent Online) – Maybe I should an include a ‘bizarre and quirky’ tag. For the convenience of tourists, Angkor Wat is now a dog free zone! But, to be fair, the Cambodian government have also acknowledged that the site is a religious temple and the last I checked, the bringing of pets to any religious site is frowned upon in any culture.

Angkor temples a dog-free zone

Cambodian police have banned dogs from the kingdom’s Angkor Wat complex in a bid to give tourists visiting the famed temples an excrement-free experience, an official said Monday.

Dogs are not good for the places of worship, police official Tan Chay said, adding that the animals’ presence insulted the spirits of the dead.

“Angkor Wat was built by our previous kings and ancestors for worship, so bringing dogs into the temples insults our ancestors’ work,” he said.