Home

EFEO Workshop on Academic Materials Pertaining to Southeast Asia, Chiang Mai July 2017

Leave a comment

More and more publications are being published worldwide. The last surveys show that within the 50 countries that publish the most, 5 are from Southeast Asia: #17 – Vietnam (24000+), #18 – Indonesia (24000+), #23 – Malaysia (18000+), #30 – Thailand (13000+), #35 – Singapore (12000+). Materials are being published, but are not necessarily easily accessible, for various reasons: small publishing company, small research center publishing its bulletin in a very small number of issues, geographical complexity, absence of bookstores that can cover an entire country/region, etc.

Furthermore, the process of building trust and cooperation with local partners can take a very long time. We all have our own connections and networks, but they might not cover all of Southeast Asia.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together all the actors concerned with Academic materials pertaining to Southeast Asia – publishers, librarians, scholars – to discuss how we could enhance access to these materials.

This workshop is planned to take place on 19 July 2017, just after the International Conference on Thai Studies (16-18 July) and before ICAS 10 (20-23 July) at the EFEO centre in Chiang Mai (École française d’Extrême-Orient, 131 Charoen Prathet Road, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand). A library tour could be organized for those interested.

Tentative Agenda:

9:30: introduction

10:00 – 12:00: roundtable

12:15 – 13:30: lunch break

14:00 – 17:00: small group discussions on area subjects and e-resources

17:30: wrap up

For details and registration please contact Antony Boussemart at antony.boussemartATefeo.net.

 

Thai music inventory online

1 Comment

Thailand has an incredible variety of popular and traditional musics. The website Thaimusicinventory attempts to make Thai popular music available to people who are not Thai and also aims to facilitate the exchange of information and views between Thais and non-Thais. The Thai popular music industry is the most developed in the region and has an unbroken history that extends over 100 years (even through WWII). However, Thai popular music is generally not easily available outside Thailand and has not made any impression on Western sensibilities. The study of Thai music (both popular and traditional) is still in its infancy in comparison to that of China, Japan, Indonesia and India. Even in Thailand, the study of Thai popular music is often not considered to be a worthwhile activity.

This website hosts articles on various aspects of Thai popular music, some scholarly and some more popular in approach, as well as lesson plans for high school teachers.  There are also links to the Isan music performances filmed by John Draper’s Khon Kaen University Isan Culture Maintenance and Revitalization Program. Of particular interest is a newly added page illustrating the breadth of the Thai 78 rpm Discographical Framework.

The two main authors are Dr James Mitchell and Peter Garrity. James has studied and published widely on Thai music and Peter is a very well known figure in the Bangkok lukthung concert scene. Comments in Thai or English are encouraged and every effort to facilitate communication through these comments will be made.

This website is only for educational purposes and is intended to foster a love of Thai music and Thailand. It is not for commercial purposes.

The website has been developed with the generous support of the Australian Thai Institute, an Australian government body that seeks to build links between the two countries.

(information from the Thaimusicinventory website)

 

92nd Conference of the South Asia Archive and Library Group

Leave a comment

We are pleased to announce that the next South Asia Archive and Library Group conference will take place on Friday 30th January, 2015 at the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre in South London.

The conference will include the following talks plus a chance to view items from the Salvation Army’s archive collection and museum displays, as well as the SAALG Business Meeting.

‘Cataloguing the Michael Stokes Indian postcard collection’ Rosie Llewellyn-Jones (Archivist, Royal Society for Asian Affairs)

‘Searching for Mahabharatas: An inquiry into the modern adaptations of an Indian ‘national epic’ in Hindi and English cultural spheres’ Chimnay Sharma (PhD Candidate, SOAS University of London)

‘Three books about South India in the days of the Raj. Discovering the life and work of the photographer A. T. W. Penn’ – Christopher Penn (Independent Researcher, Author)

‘Digitising with volunteers: the experience of the Centre of South Asian Studies’ – Dr. Kevin Greenbank (Archivist, Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge).

The conference fee is £20 including lunch and refreshments and is payable on the day. If you would like to attend please fill in the online booking form . For more information, you may contact Helen Porter (contact details included on the online booking form).

(forwarded from the SAALG Committee)

Thai manuscripts at the Royal Asiatic Society, London

Leave a comment

The Royal Asiatic Society London is pleased to announce that its small collection of Thai manuscripts is now searchable on its online catalogue.

The subject of the texts is very varied, ranging from Thai law, history and literature, to Buddhism, herbal medicine, proverbs and fortune telling. All but one of the manuscripts is in the form of a folding book and most date from the 19th century. Some are unfortunately only single volumes from multi-volume texts. Several of the manuscripts were given to the Society in the 1940’s by H. G. Quaritch Wales, and the rest came from various donors.

RAS MS 10A f6 (Courtesy of Royal Asiatic Society)

RAS MS 10A f6 (Courtesy of Royal Asiatic Society)

To see catalogue records for the manuscripts, go to http://ras.libertyasp.co.uk/library/Home.do and search for ‘Thai manuscripts’. Visitors are very welcome to view the manuscripts in the library. The Library page of the RAS web site at www.royalasiaticsociety.org has details of access arrangements.

More details about the Thai manuscripts collection at the Royal Asiatic Society and many other interesting collection items and events can be found on the RAS Blog.

 

National Museum of Cambodia catalogue online

1 Comment

The National Museum of Cambodia that was founded in 1920 houses one of the world’s greatest collections of Khmer cultural material including sculpture, ceramics and ethnographic objects from the prehistoric, pre-Angkorian, Angkorian and post-Angkorian periods.

The Museum promotes awareness, understanding and appreciation of Cambodia’s heritage through the presentation, conservation, safekeeping, interpretation and acquisition of Cambodian cultural material. It aims to educate and inspire its visitors.

The turmoil of recent decades has devastated all aspects of Cambodian life including the cultural realm. During the years of Khmer Rouge control the Museum, along with the rest of Phnom Penh, was evacuated and abandoned. The Museum suffered from neglect during this time and after the liberation of Phnom Penh on 7 January 1979 it was found in disrepair, its roof rotten, collection in disarray and garden overgrown. The Museum was quickly tidied up and reopened to the public on 13 April 1979. Tragically, however, many of the Museum’s employees had lost their lives during the Khmer Rouge regime. The resulting loss of expertise, combined with the deterioration of the Museum building and its collection, have made rehabilitation of the Museum a daunting task.

Despite such obstacles the last decade has seen considerable progress, with generous assistance from individuals, foreign governments and numerous philanthropic organizations.

The CKS National Museum Collection Inventory Project (2004-2010) has brought a revitalized sense of order to the Museum’s collection andpersonal confidence to trained Museum staff, who now oversee this important ongoing project. It has greatly assisted the Museum’s international exhibition and publications programs, identification and repatriation of missing works of art, links with re-established provincial collections and the fostering of both established and newly formed conservation workshops in stone, metal and ceramics. It has won international acclaim.

Most importantly, the location and condition of thousands of works of art in storage have been digitally catalogued, with works arranged in a logical and systematic way. Ongoing agendas include digital photography of every work, scanning of extant French inventory cards and cross-referencing the past and present catalogue systems.

Members from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and staff of the National Museum of Cambodia, together with the Center for Khmer Studies and the Leon Levy Foundation have joined in celebrating the public launch of the ‘National Museum of Cambodia: On-line’ on 3rd January 2014.

A three-year grant from the Leon Levy Foundation has enabled all the primary text and image files produced over a six-year period to be incorporated into a database that is used to fully catalogue the museum collection in addition to providing access to search the present collection on-line in both Khmer and English.

This purpose-built database based on international museum software is the work of Khmer Dev INC, Phnom Penh working in tandem with the museum’s IT programmer – proudly a Cambodian enterprise. It is a necessarily complex system that incorporates demands for three language texts English, French, Khmer, digital colour images and scanned catalogue cards. It performs a host of secondary functions other than ‘search the collection’. The database can be used to off-print museum labels to specified formats, produce loan documentation, has entries for reportage, conservation records with varying formats for search lists as required. One special feature is the capability of this system to be exported to the Cambodian provinces and a version of the cataloguing system made available to staff outside the capital enabling them to catalogue their own collections. Khmer-English glossaries, terminology and geographic location indexes & etc. can be directly sourced from the National Museum system.

Current cataloguing of the collection as at end of December 2013 within eleven categories stands at:
01-Stone 3,307; 02-Ceramics 4,316; 03-Metal 7,367; 04-Textiles 229; 05-Paintings 49; 06-Wood 494; 07-Manuscripts 481; 08-Plastic 30; 09-Glass 32; 10-Skin 21 & 11-Horn 112.

The Museum collection now stands at a total of 16,438 works of art. In 2004, at the commencement of the programs, an estimate of the Museum’s collection numbered around 14,000 objects.

An integral part of cataloguing works of art is documentation and identification – researching art styles, periods in addition to provenance, or history of ownership. Using the new Database Project resources, the Museum is now in a position to digitally present its internationally-famed collection.

The databse, which is being updated regularly, is accessible through the Museum’s homepage.

Cham manuscripts online

Leave a comment

The British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme aims to contribute to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration world-wide. This is achieved principally through the award of grants in an annual competition. Last year, an award was granted to the Northern Illinois University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, for a pilot project dedicated to the preservation of Cham manuscripts.
The Cham are an important ethnic minority in Vietnam. Descendants of the Champa kingdom that lasted from the 2nd to the 17th century AD, the Cham are the largest group of Hindu and Muslim people living in Vietnam.
The Cham’s writing system is mainly based on Sanskrit, with the majority of Cham manuscripts still in existence written in the akhar thrar script. Writings were previously inscribed on palm-leaves, but in more recent times they are recorded on paper. Cham manuscripts contain rich information about Cham customs, religious practice, literature and daily activities of Cham people. Many are records of officials and families in the communities. Manuscripts still in existence are mainly from 50 to 150 years old.
Cham manuscripts unfortunately have not been well preserved. Some have been collected by local governmental institutions and many more still exist in Cham communities. Cham manuscripts privately held by families in the communities are also disappearing. Many manuscripts are simply ruined over time by the hot and humid climate. Most young Cham people today are not able to read Cham scripts and thus pay little attention to the preservation of manuscripts in their families. Furthermore, some Cham people believe that it is bad luck to keep ‘deserted books’ (Akhar bhaw) in the home and hence, books not cared for or read frequently will eventually be discarded in rivers.
Three digitised Cham manuscripts from this project are now available online on the library’s Endangered Archives homepage.

(Information provided by Hao Phan / Endangered Archives homepage)

Burmese court scenes in a 19th century parabaik

2 Comments

San San May, British Library

During the reign of King Mindon (1853-1878), Burmese artists were officially appointed at the royal court. One of the duties of the royal painters was to record important events at the court and scenes from royal life in folding books (parabaik). Those paintings from the Konbaung period were forerunners of Burmese fine arts. Sixteen scenes of court ceremonies and entertainments are in the 19th century court parabaik, Or.16761. Scenes in the folding book are painted in water colours and enclosed in yellow panels, with a single line of explanatory text in Burmese script. Subjects include elephant herding, royal processions on land and by river, ceremonial ploughing, elephant taming, javelin throwing, coronation ceremony, elephant fighting, blessing ceremony, traditional cane ball game, dramatical performance, boxing, cock-fighting and royal barge procession. In ancient times these ceremonies were not only royal occasions but also the people’s occasions as they were competitions.

In this scene, elephant trainers are herding a young white elephant. Every Burmese king longed to possess a white elephant (Sinpyudaw) as they believed white elephants were signs and symbols of power and sovereignty. These auspicious white elephants were kept as an ornament or royal regalia when they were found. According to the story of the life of Buddha, Queen Mahamaya dreamt of a young white elephant after conceiving of Lord Buddha. They are regarded as a blessing for peace and prosperity in other Buddhist stories as well. (Or.16761, fols. 1-3)

In this scene, elephant trainers are herding a young white elephant. (Or.16761, fols. 1-3)

Every Burmese king longed to possess a white elephant (Sinpyudaw) as they believed white elephants were signs and symbols of power and sovereignty. These auspicious white elephants were kept as an ornament or royal regalia when they were found. According to the story of the life of Buddha, Queen Mahamaya dreamt of a young white elephant after conceiving of Lord Buddha. They are regarded as a blessing for peace and prosperity in other Buddhist stories as well.

In the time of the Burmese Monarchy, the royal ploughing ceremony (Lehtun Mingala) was held in the month of Warso (June to July) to ensure a good harvest to the whole country.  In the scene the king and his ministers are ploughing the field outside the royal palace with the sacred oxen which are hitched to wooden ploughs. (Or.16761, fols. 7-9)

In this scene the king and his ministers are ploughing the field outside the royal palace with the sacred oxen which are hitched to wooden ploughs. (Or.16761, fols. 7-9)

In the time of the Burmese Monarchy, the royal ploughing ceremony (Lehtun Mingala) was held in the month of Warso (June to July) to ensure a good harvest to the whole country.

In this scene a Burmese musical troupe is entertaining the royals. To the left, royals are under a canopy watching Burmese classical dance (Zat pwe). To the right are dancers and musicians accompanied by an orchestra (Saing waing). Zat taw gyi or zat pwe is usually based on Jataka stories which are the most popular literary materials in all periods of Burmese history. (Or.16761, fols. 28-30)

In this scene a Burmese musical troupe is entertaining the royals. To the left, royals are under a canopy watching Burmese classical dance (Zat pwe). To the right are dancers and musicians accompanied by an orchestra (Saing waing). Zat taw gyi or zat pwe is usually based on Jataka stories which are the most popular literary materials in all periods of Burmese history. (Or.16761, fols. 28-30)

Mr & Mrs Macfarlane of London donated this manuscript, which had been in Mrs Macfarlane’s family since her grandfather acquired it in 1898, to the British Library in October 2010. The manuscript has been digitised and is available on the library’s Digitised Manuscripts Viewer.

Older Entries