Our last issue for 2017 opens with a tribute to Mae Anna Pang, long time Senior Curator of Asian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria. Dr Pang has contributed an article that explores how, through the use of puns and symbols, images in Chinese art convey hidden meanings and are used to express good wishes and spiritual meanings. This is followed by an interview with her by Carol Cains, until recently Curator Asian Art at NGV (and now Senior Curator at NGA) that reflects on a whole life dedicated to promoting Asian art and building the NGV’s Asian art collection.
Chinese art topics are a feature of a number of articles in this issue. Alex Burchmore discusses the work of Chinese born, Canadian and New York based ceramicist Sin-Ying Ho, particularly her most recent and celebrated series of porcelain sculptures, Garden of Eden. He can offer us personal insights through his conversations with Ho during her residency at the ANU, Canberra, at the invitation of the author.
The 2016 VisAsia H Y Mok Mandarin lecture at the Art Gallery of NSW by visiting Professor Wang Xiaomeng has been summarised and translated for the TAASA Review by Iain Clark. This has given non Chinese speakers welcome access to information on the development of Tang Dynasty sancai ceramics, based on current archaeological evidence. Iain Clark has also provided us with a brief summary of the most recent 2017 VisAsia Mok Mandarin lecture.
Southeast Asian topics are covered by other articles in this issue. Based on his talk as part of TAASA’s 2017 Monday lecture series, Peter Worsley walks us through a detailed analysis of a rich and complex painting from Kamasan in Bali dated to the 19th or early 20th century, one of many Balinese paintings presenting episodes in the life of the Brayut family.
Marnie Feneley’s article discusses an unusual Khmer head of Viṣṇu held in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the only surviving remnant of this 12th century sculpture. The striking and rare thing about this sculpture is that its headdress features a double Vajra. Drawing on extant evidence and on Khmer Vaiṣṇavite beliefs, her article provides us with an explanation for what this statue represents and the significance of its vajra.
A Japanese themed contribution is provided by Adam Wojciński, a performance artist who explores classical Japanese aesthetics, disciplines and philosophy. He describes a new movement in the art of chanoyu or Japanese tea ceremony called World Tea Gathering, whose aim is to push the boundaries of commonly held ideas about tea as an art form. In early October 2018, AGSA will host the second World Tea Gathering in Adelaide, with public tea gatherings, a series of public lectures, forums and workshops on the history, aesthetic values and cultural translation of chanoyu held at the Gallery and various other venues and public spaces.
The Japanese theme continues with Melanie Eastburn’s review of the recent Hokusai exhibition held at the NGV. TAASA members in Sydney enjoyed a talk on this exhibition in September by the curator of this exhibition, Wayne Crothers.
Geoff Wood, Senior Producer and Broadcaster with ABC Radio National, was invited to write about his favourite five musicians of Asian background currently performing in Australia. The background of his chosen artists ranges across all of Asia and his article may introduce a number of outstanding but perhaps lesser known Australian performers to our readers.
Inspired by their presentation at TAASA’s Monday evening lecture in May, Sydney University postgraduate students, Michael Leadbetter, Cheng Nien Yuan, Natali Pearson and Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan, convened a double panel – Perspectives on the Past: Ritual in Southeast Asia – at the 9th European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS) conference at the University of Oxford in August. They provide a summary of this panel discussion in this issue.
Finally, we offer two book reviews, in time for some holiday reading. Jill Sykes has reviewed the most recent book by long time TAASA member Claudia Hyles, So You Can See In The Dark: and other Indian essays, whose passion for India is evident in the varied range of topics covered by this book.
Textile expert Gill Green reviews Tribal Textiles from Southwest China: Thread Songs from Misty Land; The Philippe Fatin Collection by Catherine Bourzat, a handsome publication which, she claims, offers a definitive reference for the remarkable dress tradition of Miao minority groups in Guizhou province, SW China.
TAASA wishes all its members an enjoyable and safe holiday season, and looks forward to providing an interesting and varied program of events in 2018.
3 EDITORIAL - Josefa Green, Editor
4 WORDS AND IMAGES: HIDDEN MEANINGS IN CHINESE ART - Mae Anna Pang
7 FULL CIRCLE: DR MAE ANNA PANG, A CURATORIAL CAREER IN ASIAN ART - Carol Cains
9 RITUAL IN BALINESE PAINTINGS: A BALINESE BRAYUT PAINTING FROM THE NYOMAN GUNARSA MUSEUM, BALI - Peter Worsley
12 SIN-YING HO’S GARDEN OF EDEN - Alex Burchmore
15 UNSURPASSED BRILLIANCE: TANG DYNASTY SANCAI DISCOVERED AT XI’AN AND LUOYANG - Wang Xiaomeng and Iain M. Clark
18 A VIṢṆU FROM THE RIJKSMUSEUM - Marnie Feneley
20 MY FAVOURITE FIVE ASIAN-HERITAGE MUSICIANS - Geoff Wood
22 SECOND WORLD TEA GATHERING AT AGSA - Adam Wojciński
24 PERSPECTIVES OF THE PAST: RITUAL IN SOUTHEAST ASIA - Michael Leadbetter, Cheng Nien Yuan, Natali Pearson and Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan
25 COURT AND CONNOISSEURSHIP: THE COLLECTION AND ARTISTIC TASTE OF THE QIANLONG EMPEROR - VISASIA H Y MOK MANDARIN LECTURE AT AGNSW - Iain Clark
25 HOKUSAI - Melanie Eastburn
26 BOOK REVIEW: SO YOU CAN SEE IN THE DARK AND OTHER INDIAN ESSAYS - Jill Sykes
26 BOOK REVIEW: TRIBAL TEXTILES FROM SOUTHWEST CHINA - Gill Green
27 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES
28 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY: DECEMBER 2017 – FEBRUARY 2018
30 WHAT’S ON: DECEMBER 2017 – FEBRUARY 2018