NIHU Program for Islamic Area Studies

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Symposium, 19 October 2013, Sophia University, Tokyo

Islam in Cultural Interactions: Manuscript Art, Stories, and Dress in Southeast Asia

This symposium features the cultural interaction of Southeast Asian Muslims from pre-modern times to the present and discusses the creation of new cultures and their transmission to other parts of the world. Southeast Asians have actively included elements of diverse cultures that have been introduced by foreign influences into their existing cultures, which have enriched them. The three lectures in the symposium discuss this issue from the viewpoints of manuscript arts, stories, and the dress of Southeast Asian Muslims.

The symposium demonstrates that the relationships between different cultures and religions have not always been antagonistic or accompanied by conflict, but rather that there have been many cases in which these interactions took place without animosity, leading to the peaceful coexistence of diverse cultures and religions and the enrichment of their spiritual and material cultures. In light of these Southeast Asian experiences, we will discuss the various ways in which Islamic cultures have interacted with other religions and cultures, reflect on the ways in which we have perceived and studied Islam and Muslims, and consider how we should do so in future.

Dr. Annabel Teh Gallop (British Library): “East and West: Cultural Interactions in Southeast Asian Islamic Manuscript Art
Dr. Sugahara Yumi (Osaka University): “The Isra’ Miraj Story in Southeast Asia
Dr. Shioya Momo (The University of Shimane Junior College): “Islamic Clothing and Identity in Contemporary Indonesia

For the full Symposium programme see: http://www.info.sophia.ac.jp/SIAS/EN/news/131019.html

A flyer for the Symposium can be downloaded here: http://www.info.sophia.ac.jp/SIAS/news/image/2013NIHU%20IAS.pdf

Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic World

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A brand-new book with the title Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic World by Annabel Gallop and Venetia Porter, with contributions from Heba Nayel Barakat, Nurul Iman Rusli, Ros Mahwati Ahmad Zakaria, Fariba Roomi, Arif Naushahi and Jan van der Putten, highlights not only the importance of seal culture around the Islamic world over a span of 1300 years, but dedicates much attention to Southeast Asia. It has been published by the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in association with the British Library and the British Museum as a result of the exhibition with the same title, which travelled to various libraries and museums in the UK and Malaysia.

Presented in this book are over 300 Islamic seals, dating from the earliest days of Islam through to the modern era. They include both matrices made of precious stone and metal, and impressions stamped on manuscript documents and books, mainly from the collections of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, the British Library and the British Museum. Unlike European seals which are primarily pictorial, in Islamic seals the inscription takes centre stage. It is this focus on writing, in the sacred Arabic script, which links seals from all parts of the Muslim world, from Morocco to Malaysia, and from Iran to India and Indonesia.

Annabel Teh Gallop and Venetia Porter: Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic World. Kuala Lumpur: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, 2012. – 199 pp., ill., maps. ISBN 978-983-44696-9-6