Date: 6-7 November 2012

Venue: Lecture Hall A, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya

Jointly Organised by:  Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya & École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO)

Seals and symbols of authority are important representations of the power and status of individuals or institutions. Seals were used and found in great civilizations including that of China and India. Often, seals were used to provide status and authority to documents and transactions. While seals are commonly linked to historical documents of significance, including treaties and agreements between states and rulers, they are also found in documents of transactions among common folks sealing business deals or in making agreements. In this sense, seals represented the embodiment of the status and perhaps even the personas of the individuals. In Southeast Asia, the usage of seals is wide spread as evident through the many documents that bore different types of seals.

In the Malay World, the usage of seals was wide spread and important. Their historical importance is evident through scholastic discussions that continue to emerge. More recent discussion that centres on the Seals of the last Singamangaraja of the Batak people in Lake Toba, Sumatra for instance is an indication of such interest. An extension of the study would include examples and data from other parts of Asia, including China, Japan, India which had strong and long standing ties with Southeast Asia.