Our first TAASA Review for 2013 is a general issue which offers a large variety of topics, but which has a strong textile flavour.
Three articles explore various textile topics. Jim Masselos dips into his as yet unpublished research undertaken in the 1980s on a wonderful leather bound design book used as a kind of catalogue by the last Kutch court embroiderers in northwest India. It was held at the time in the government museum in Bhuj and provides a unique insight into the compositions and motifs used by over four generations of embroiderers whose practice terminated when the Kutch royal family lost dominance post independence.
In her article Textile Designs in Stone, Lesley Pullen examines the textile designs carved on five Javanese statues dating to c. 1300. Given the paucity of records and inscriptions, these designs provide important information on where and when these and other statues were made and the kinds of textiles that could have been in existence during that period. A study of these designs may also be able to highlight the continuity and disappearance of designs over time.
Staying in the same region, Thienny Lee discusses two batiks now held in the British Museum - part of the collection of Sir Stamford Raffles, which he amassed while Lieutenant Governor of Java and the Dependencies from 1811 to 1816. She challenges current views on the origin of these designs as well as how these cloths came into Raffles’ possession.
Following on from the preview in the December TAASA Review of the Alexander the Great exhibition at the Australian Museum, John Tidmarsh reports on current or recent excavations of a number of sites in present day Jordan, Afghanistan and Syria where Hellenistic cities were established following Alexander’s defeat of the Persian empire. John is currently co-Director of the excavations at Jordan and Syria.
Another area of great archaeological and architectural richness which is currently under threat is discussed in William Gourlay’s article on Hasankeyf, a township in southeastern Anatolia in Turkey. He outlines the many historically important treasures which will be destroyed should the Turkish Government forge ahead with its Ilısu dam project, not to speak of the displacement of some 60,000 people and the inundation of around 2000 sites in the wider region.
Two current exhibitions are reviewed in this issue. Opening this month is an exhibition of Korean ceramics at the Art Gallery of NSW generously lent to the Gallery by the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka. Khanh Trinh, Curator of Japanese and Korean Art at the AGNSW, provides us with a brief history of the development of Korean ceramics in the Goryeo and early Joseon periods, and explains how the 38 pieces on show provide us with outstanding examples from these two major periods when Korean ceramic art reached its pinnacle.
One of the most significant art events in Australia - the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery - was covered in the December TAASA Review. In this issue, Anne Kirker, who was involved with the first four APTs as a curator at QAG, offers her reflections on how the APT should be seen, not only as a spectacle but also as ongoing event which has had a critical and lasting influence on QAG’s collection practices. You can still catch APT7 in Brisbane until 14 April.
Two of our regular items should hopefully be of interest to our readers. In Collector’s Choice, John Yu discusses two charming Vietnamese blue and white ceramic plates in his collection. In our Book Review, Niki van den Heuvel discusses Adrian Vickers’ new major and beautifully presented publication on Balinese Art.
We have a larger than usual section on TAASA matters in this issue. This is partly because a number of events from the end of last year occurred too late to be included in the December issue. TAASA events for the new year are highlighted on p30, including what should prove to be a stimulating symposium From Beginner to Expert on 9 March. TAASA is also very pleased to announce the long awaited launch of a TAASA Ceramics Study Group, with its first event scheduled for Thursday 4 April from 6 – 8pm.
Finally, we do have some important matters to report. One is the well deserved award of an OAM in the recent Australia Day honours to our Vice President, Christina Sumner to whom TAASA offers heartiest congratulations. On a sadder note, we offer our best wishes to past President Jackie Menzies for an exciting ‘next career’ as she steps down from her position as Head of Asian Art at the AGNSW.
3 Editorial - Josefa Green, Editor
4 UNCOVERING ALEXANDER'S 'LOST' CITIES - John Tidmarsh
7 LUXURIOUS ABSTRACTION: MOTIF AND DESIGN IN KUTCH COURT EMBROIDERY - Jim Masselos
10 TEXTILE DESIGNS IN STONE: THE LEGACY OF MEDIEVAL JAVANESE SCULPTURE - Lesley Pullen
14 TURKEY’S HASANKEYF: THE PLIGHT OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND ARCHITECTURAL TREASURES IN SOUTHEAST ANATOLIA - William Gourlay
17 DECODING THE FORBIDDEN DESIGNS IN RAFFLES' BATIK COLLECTION - Thienny Lee
20 SOUL OF SIMPLICITY - KOREAN CERAMICS EXHIBITION AT THE AGNSW - Khanh Trinh
24 APT: MORE THAN A SPECTACLE - Anne Kirker
26 COLLECTOR'S CHOICE: TWO BLUE & WHITE VIETNAMESE CHARGERS - John Yu
27 BOOK REVIEW: BALINESE ART - Niki van den Heuvel
28 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES
30 TAASA Members' Diary: MARCH 2013 – MAY 2013
31 WHAT'S ON IN AUSTRALIA: MARCH 2013 – MAY 2013 - Compiled by Tina Burge