Selections, November 2006

A selection of archaeology-related books, new to the catalogue of Select Books, a specialised publisher and retailer of books pertaining to Southeast Asia. For ordering info, please visit the Select Books website.

010657
Chinese Potter, The: A Practical History Of Chinese Ceramics (Reprinted 2006). Medley, Margaret. Gb. 1989. 288pp. pb $55.65 (China has the longest and most highly developed ceramic tradition in the world, encompassing early Neolithic earthenwares, the finely glazed stoneware pieces of the Song period – widely regarded as among the greatest ceramics ever produced – and the years of Imperial patronage and export ware for the new markets of the West. Margaret Medley’s groundbreaking study was the first to bring a practical approach to the study of Chinese pottery. She makes full use of archaeological reports to show how differing geographical areas, materials and developing technology all shaped the evolution of Chinese ceramics. Her revolutionary insights, along with an astute critical judgement in the field of art history itself, combine to form a classic but approachable account which has profoundly influenced the way in which Chinese pottery is studied. First published in 1976, this is the fourth and latest reprint of the revised third edition that was issued in 1989.)

040222
Message & The Monsoon, The: Islamic Art Of Southeast Asia. De Guise, Lucien (ed.) My. 2005. 237pp. hc $65.10 (It was Marco Polo who said, “It takes ships from China a whole year for the voyage to Southeast Asia, going in winter and returning in the summer. For in that sea there are but two winds that blow, the one that carries them outward and the other that brings them homeward; and the one of these winds blows all winter, and the other all the summer.” The monsoon winds were of vital importance to Southeast Asia in the age of sail. These winds brought with them more than just traders from China, India and Arabia. They also introduced Islam into the region. Southeast Asia became part of the most important mercantile network the world had ever seen until the 20th century. As a result, there is an astonishing accumulation of wealth and art to be found here, from Aceh in the west of the Malay Archipelago to Mindanao in the east. This catalogue is published in conjunction with the July 2005 exhibition of the same name at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. It features a comprehensive selection of Islamic artefacts that embodies the Muslim contribution to Southeast Asia. More than 150 artefacts dating from the 15th to 20th century, including manuscripts, textiles, arms, woodwork, metalwork and coinage, offer an opportunity to examine the evolution of a unique culture, one that fuses Islamic principles with indigenous customs. With notes, bibliography and glossary.)

038935
Restoration Of Borobudur, The. Unesco. Fr. 2005. 288pp. hc $115.00 (Although the construction of Java’s Borobudur temples took many centuries, parts probably date from about 800CE. Both Buddhist and Hindu traditions are incorporated in the extensive terraced buildings. In the mid-20th century following great alarm about decay at the site, a UNESCO restoration project was initiated with support from 27 nations. This volume traces the temple’s history and the course and methods of the UNESCO reconstruction and Borobudur’s 1991 recognition as a World Heritage Site. Sketches, photographs, diagrams and much technical data shed light on the immensity of the work done in one of the most important restoration efforts of the last century. With bibliography, glossary and index.)

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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