TAASA Review issues
Takashima Oiko No Hanashi (The Tale of Takashima Oiko) By Taiso Yoshitoshi, 1889.
Japanese woodcut colour print on 2 pages of Hosho paper, 35.5 x 24.0 cm. Collection of The National Library of Australia
In this folk tale, a travelling wrestler on his way to a tournament seizes the hand of a passing peasant woman, Takashima Oiko, a legendary Japanese female "Hercules", not realising she is as strong as she is beautiful . To his surprise and horror he is unable to free himself from her grip, whereas she easily drags him along while blithely continuing to carry her bucket with the other hand. The kind-hearted Oiko then offers to become his trainer.
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The TAASA Review starts the new year with a general issue that once again demonstrates the range of talent and expertise in the Asian art field to be found in Australia and the richness of our collections.
Two of the feature articles in this issue represent original research on Southeast Asian topics. Phoebe Scott shares the results of her PhD research work on Vietnamese art from the 1920's to the 1950's. She discusses the way in which lacquer painting, a traditional art medium in Vietnam, was used as a vehicle for resistance during the first Indochina war from 1946 to 1954. Ann Proctor became intrigued by the handsome earthenware water pots which she has encountered on her many trips to Laos. Her intrepid detective work has progressed our knowledge about these beautiful utilitarian objects, as very little is known to date about their manufacture, distribution and use.
We continue to feature Australian collections of Asian art with an article by Gordon Craig on the Nat Yuen collection of Chinese antiquities housed in the Art Museum of the University of Queensland. Representing a generous donation by Dr Natalis Yuen, a Hong Kong resident and alumnus from the University of Queensland, the collection contains some 100 objects that showcase the special features of each major period of Chinese ceramic production from the Neolithic period to the end of the Qing dynasty. Curators Anya Dettman and Mayumi Shinozaki bring the rich collection of 19th and early 20th century Ukiyo-e (woodblock) prints in the National Library of Australia to our attention in our regular feature "In the Public Domain". A striking example of one of these prints, by the artist Yoshitoshi, has been used as the cover for this issue.
The work of Korean Australian ceramic artist Won-Seok Kim is featured in this issue's "Artist Profile". Powerhouse curator of Asian Art & Design, Min-Jung Kim provides an insight into the way in which the artist integrates traditional Korean ceramic techniques with Australian materials to produce his distinctive 'Australian Buncheong ware'.
In contrast, Janet Mansfield describes how, with significant input from herself, the work of more than 20 Australian and New Zealand ceramists is permanently represented in an Australasian Museum in the town of Fuping in China's Shanxi Province. This museum, along with about 14 other national museums, is the brainchild of retired businessman, Dr Ichi Hsu. He convinced the owners of a major brick and tile factory in Fuping to create a major ceramics centre which would provide a venue for ceramists from all over the world to stay, make work and leave their pieces behind in purpose built museums. This exciting development now seems to have developed a life of its own, with more national museums about to open on the site together with a graduate school for ceramic art, hotels and apartment blocks and a 5 year expansion plan, Chinese style, which involves establishing 5 international ceramic art galleries - including one in Melbourne.
Asian art enthusiasts are generally keen travellers, seeking out exhibitions, collections and a deeper engagement with the diverse cultures of Asia wherever and whenever possible. This March issue offers a number of articles that aim to share these experiences. Carole Douglas, textile expert and designer, vividly describes her visit to the workshop of master embroiderer Asif Shaikh in Ahmedabad, India. Christine Inglis shares her passion for Chinese snuff bottles and her experience as a participant at the recent 41st annual convention of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society in Dublin, which focused on an exhibition of exquisite snuff bottles from the Chester Beatty Library collection. Ross Langlands describes the wedding of friends in West Timor, a fascinating mixture of traditional custom and Paris chic. And Darryl Collins, an Australian now living in Cambodia, tells the truly inspiring story of how he saved a traditional wooden Cambodian house from demolition by having it transported piece by piece over a 300 km distance, to be reconstructed as his new home in Seam Reap.
Along with a thoughtful summary of the current situation relating to the prevention of illicit looting of antiquities in China by Philip Courtenay, and a profile of Jim Masselos by Pamela Gutman, celebrating his profound contribution to the study of India, its art and culture, I hope that you will enjoy this first TAASA Review for 2010.
Table of contents
3 Editorial - Josefa Green
4 Serving the Resistance: Lacquer Painting in Vietnam during the First Indochina War - Phoebe Scott
7 An afternoon in Ahmedabad: In conversation with embroidery master Asif Shaikh - Carole Douglas
9 When the sun is in line with the water bottle - Ann Proctor
12 An Australasian Ceramics Museum in Fuping, China - Janet Mansfield
14 Artist Profile: Won-Seok Kim’s Australian Buncheong Ware - Min-Jung Kim
16 The Nat Yuen Collection of Chinese Antiquities at the University of Queensland - Gordon Craig
18 Moving the past to the present: a Siem Reap-Angkor Khmer residence - Darryl Collins
21 In the Public Domain: Japanese Treasures at the National Library of Australia - Anya Dettman with Mayumi Shinozaki
22 Precious Playthings in Dublin: Snuff bottles in the Chester Beatty Library - Christine Inglis
24 National Heritage or International Commodity? The Situation in China - Philip Courtenay
26 Traveller’s Tale: A West Timor Wedding - Ross Langlands
27 Profile: Jim Masselos - Pamela Gutman
28 Recent TAASA Activities
28 TAASA Members’ Diary
29 What’s On: March – May 2010 - Compiled by Tina Burge