This March issue is particularly varied, with topics covering a wide geographic spread across Asia, and dealing with a range of subjects, both historical and contemporary.
We start with Sushma Griffin’s article which explores the less obvious intent behind the Lucknow Album, published in 1874 by Darogha Ubbas Alli, a relatively unknown Shia Muslim photographer. This album purports to offer an illustrated guide to Lucknow (in present day Uttar Pradesh); its photographs of architectural landmarks follow the British army’s progressive liberation of the besieged city after the Indian ‘Mutiny’ of 1857. Sushma Griffin’s key argument is that the photographs and text combine in the album to disrupt ‘Mutiny’ narrative and to privilege the authority of the deposed Indian ruler, the Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah and the Shia based culture which underpinned his rule.
In his article, Iain Clark reports on an exciting use of 3D printing, a relatively new technology, to replicate ceramic cups that were used by the Qing (1644 – 1911) at 12 altars and temples around Beijing for state ritual sacrifices. Not a single example has been found in contemporary collections and the author hopes that their replication in this way will help bring these cups to light, recognised as the important cultural artefact that they are.
The article which follows is about quite a different cultural legacy. Probably one of the least known collection of Chinese ceramics can be found in the Benaki Museum in Athens, presented in a recent exhibition of 90 of its pieces. The interesting back story to this major donation of around 800 objects by well know Greek-origin British collector George Eumorfopoulos in the 1920’s and early 30’s is told by George Manginis, an academic who is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Benaki Museum and the author of the impressive catalogue that accompanied the 2016 exhibition.
A strong ceramic tradition is also to be found in Thailand. Ray Hearn focuses on the development of ceramic production in the village of Ban Ko Noi at Si Satchanalai in Northern Thailand, where excavations by Australian archaeologist Don Hein in the 1980’s revealed a sequence of 12 kilns built one on top of the preceding, dating from the 11th to the 17th centuries. Ray Hearn is interested in the social, political and economic reasons for the rise and fall of ceramic production in Thailand, ending his article with a touching story of the current resurgence of a ceramic industry in modern day Ban Ko Noi.
The next two articles cover contemporary themes. In a thought provoking piece, Mikala Tai, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney, provides convincing examples in Animating Curiosity to support her view that curators can stimulate the interest and deeper engagement of gallery visitors through the clever juxtaposition of contemporary with historical works of art. In particular, she argues that contemporary animation art has the ability to facilitate new connections with collections and often links back to traditional art forms.
This creative linking between tradition and new art forms is also explored in Patricia Wilson-Adams’ review of a recent show Fashion + Paper, Scissors & Rock at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. The exhibition’s challenging brief to five young fashion designers and artists was to ask them to make wearable garments using the most futuristic of ideas, but also to incorporate the knowledge and skills obtained by collaborating with local craftspeople whose crafts have been very important to the culture of Hong Kong. One gorgeous response can be seen on the front page of this issue, the work of Australian designer and academic Tricia Flanagan.
Bob Hudson’s article on the re-writing of contemporary history relating to a colossal Buddha image in Yangon, Myanmar is a salutary reminder of the connection between the arts and politics. Readers will be interested to find out about the opening of a new, southern branch of the National Palace Museum in Taiwan: in Travellers’ Choice, Ian Cook talks about the background and construction of this museum and shares his personal response to one of its permanent exhibitions in particular, Imprints of Buddhas.
We are lucky to be able to draw on the deep expertise of Christina Sumner who provides us with a review of Block Printed Textiles of India, a splendid book that many will want to see on their shelves. And finally, we sadly offer an obituary of Made Wijaya by Indonesian art expert Siobhan Campbell who will also be giving TAASA’s first Monday night lecture on this important Australian-born Bali resident - garden designer, art historian, archaeologist and anthropologist.
3 EDITORIAL Josefa Green, Editor
4 THE LUCKNOW ALBUM: EXPLORING AESTHETIC AFFINITIES IN VISUAL ISLAMIC ART IN INDIA Sushma Griffin
7 3D PRINTING – A TOOL FOR CERAMIC ART HISTORIANS - Iain M. Clark
10 FROM A COLLECTOR’S VISION TO A MUSEUM COLLECTION: EUMORFOPOULOS’S LEGACY AT THE BENAKI MUSEUM - George Manginis
12 THE POTTERS OF THAILAND’S BAN KO NOI: REVIVING THE PAST - Ray Hearn
15 ANIMATING CURIOSITY: PRESENTING TRADITIONAL WORKS IN A CONTEMPORARY FRAMEWORK - Mikala Tai
18 FASHION + PAPER, SCISSORS & ROCK – IMAGINING A FUTURE THROUGH FASHION DESIGN - Patricia Wilson-Adams
20 THE VANISHED DONOR OF THE MYANMAR MARBLE BUDDHA PAGODA - Bob Hudson
22 TRAVELLER’S CHOICE: IMPRINTS OF BUDDHAS, AN EXHIBITION AT THE NEWLY OPENED SOUTHERN BRANCH OF THE NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM, TAIWAN - Ian Cook
24 BOOK REVIEW: BLOCK PRINTED TEXTILES OF INDIA - Christina Sumner
25 MADE WIJAYA (22 MARCH 1953-28 SEPTEMBER 2016) - Siobhan Campbell
26 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES
28 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY: MARCH - MAY 2017
29 WHAT’S ON: MARCH - MAY 2017