Southeast Asian photographic collections of the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) online

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From 1933, the EFEO engaged the services of a professional photographer, Jean Manikus, assisted by Nguyen Huu Tho, who created a photographic service that worked until 1959, resulting in the important heritage collections of the EFEO. When, under the pressure of political events, the EFEO had to move its headquarters from Hanoi to Saigon in September 1954, a copy of the photographic collection was sent to Paris where the headquarters of the School were eventually installed in 1961. The EFEO library in Paris was thus created, taking over from that of Hanoi.

Today, more than 180,000 photographic items are kept at the library in Paris. The media, reflecting the evolution of photographic techniques, are different in nature: glass plates with silver gelatino-bromide; negatives; slides; silver prints and colors; digital photos. The themes illustrate the richness of the disciplines researched at the EFEO: architecture, archeology, epigraphy, ethnography, art history etc. Because of the history of the School and its missions, Cambodia and Vietnam are particularly well represented in the collections and, to a lesser extent, Laos and Thailand.

These photographs attract major academic interest, complementing historical mission reports and publications in periodicals. In 2002, a digitization campaign was initiated in order to ensure the conservation of photographs and to disseminate the digitized photos to the academic community and the general public.

The content of the website (text, graphics etc.) is protected by legislation on intellectual property. Any reproduction, total or partial reproduction, any use, any adjustment or modification by any means and  by any person without the permission of the EFEO is strictly prohibited.
To access the digital photo collections please visit the EFEO website.
Online presentation of the EFEO photo collections

Online presentation of the EFEO photo collections


Southeast Asia in the British Pathé Film Archive

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British Pathé was once a dominant feature of the British cinema experience. Before the advent of television, millions around the globe came to movie theatres for their weekly dose of filmed news. The birth of this phenomenon took place when renowned French filmmaker Charles Pathé came to London in 1910 to introduce an innovative medium to British audiences – the cinema newsreel.

Over the course of a century, British Pathé reported on everything from armed conflicts and seismic political crises to the curious hobbies and eccentric lives of ordinary British people. In so doing, the organisation set the benchmark for cinematic journalism, blending information and entertainment with unparalleled success and influencing whole generations of Britons.

British Pathé is considered to be the most comprehensive newsreel archive in the world and is a treasure trove of 85,000 films unrivalled in their historical and cultural significance. Spanning the years from 1896 to 1976, the collection includes footage from around the globe of major events, famous people, fashion trends, travel, science and culture. Over the last 40 years, this material has been used extensively by broadcasters, production companies, corporations, publishers, teachers and museums, among many others. Now most of the material is available publicly via the British Pathé website for viewing and educational purposes.

Almost 300 film clips can be found for Indochina, for example. Although most of the footage is related to the war in Indochina, there are also clips documenting the lives of ordinary people, the cultural traditions of various ethnic groups and outstanding Southeast Asian landscapes.

A keyword search for “Burma” reveals over 200 film clips. One particularly interesting short film documents the Water Festival as is was celebrated in Yangon in 1946. Another very rare film shows footage of East African soldiers who fought in Burma in the 1940s.

Just over one hundred clips are related to Thailand/Siam, mainly covering state visits, political events and some cultural topics. A very short film gives insight into the life of young Prince Ananda at his school in Lausanne. Fun to watch is a documentation of Prince Birabongse winning the Ulster T.T. race in Northern Ireland.

Hundreds more films deal with events in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brunei, including the coronation of the Sultan of Johor in 1960.


Conference on Manuscripts and Archives, Hamburg

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Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, 19-22 November 2014

The Centre of the Studies of Manuscripts Cultures (University of Hamburg) organizes a conference on Manuscripts and Archives from 19-22 November 2014. Contributions from the field of Southeast Asian manuscript cultures are most welcome and are encouraged. Proposals should be submitted as soon as possible.

The conference will explore the complex topic of the archive in a historical, systematic and comparative dimension and try to contextualise it in the broader context of manuscript cultures by addressing the following questions: How, by whom and for which purpose are archival records produced? Is there any observable difference from literary manuscripts concerning materials, formats, producers (scribes)? Where are they stored, how organised? Are there other objects stored together with the records? Which practices are involved inside the archive, how and by whom are they used? Is there a term or a concept of archive as opposed to library, museum, cabinet (of curiosities) and the like? Is there a relation to historiography? Is there an archival science (archivology)?

The conference takes place at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Warburgstraße 26, Hamburg, Germany.

Participation in the conference is free of charge and visitors are welcome.

For more detailed information and registration please visit the CSMC website: http://www.manuscript-cultures.uni-hamburg.de/register_archives.html

“Surviving Far East Captivity and the Aftermath: 70 Years on”

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2015 Conference of the Researching FEPOW History Group

The Researching FEPOW History Group announces the 5th International Conference in association with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), which will take place on 5-7 June 2015 at the Old School, LSTM, in Liverpool. The theme of the conference is “Surviving Far East Captivity and the Aftermath: 70 Years on“.

Researching FEPOW History was established in 2005 with the aim of organising biennial conferences to aid those who are researching the experiences of ex-Far Eastern prisoners of war or civilian internees. The organising team comprises seven FEPOW researchers. Their aim is to share FEPOW history, information and research as widely as possible. They are independent, affiliated to no specific organization or group, but in touch with as many as possible worldwide. They invite world renowned historians, authors and researchers to present their work to as wide an audience as possible.

In alphabetical order, speakers confirmed for the 2015 Conference include:
Keith Andrews (research), Jeya Ayadurai (Changi, Singapore), Rod Beattie MBE (Thailand), Frank Cottrell Boyce (scriptwriter, The Railway Man), Jon Cooper (Singapore), Jane Davies (Lancashire Fusiliers Museum; FEPOW in Korea), Professor Geoff Gill (LSTM), Dr Rosalind Hearder (Australian medics), Dr Lizzie Oliver (Sumatra Railway), Meg Parkes (FEPOW medical art), Martin Percival and Stephen Rockliffe (RAPWI and Repatriation), Philip Reed (IWM) – Roderick Suddaby Lecture, Stephen Walton (IWM), Anne Wheeler (Canadian film producer), Professor Rupert Wilkinson (child internee in Philippines).

The conference also includes an optional visit to the Lancashire Infantry Museum’s FEPOW archives (2nd Loyals, held in Singapore, Thailand and Korea) on 8 June 2015. This archive is a jewel and should not to be missed by those with an interest in FEPOW history.

For more detailed information and registration, please visit the Researching FEPOW Group’s 2015 Conference page.

(Forwarded by Rachel Rowe, SAALG) 


2014 SEAMEO Congress “Southeast Asia in Transition: Re-thinking Education, Science and Culture for Regional Integration”

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21-22 October 2014, Bangkok

The main objective of the 2014 SEAMEO (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization) Congress is to explore new avenues for managing the diverse changes in education, science and culture and enhance regional understanding and cooperation among educators and different stakeholders in Southeast Asia and beyond.

The theme for 2014 SEAMEO Congress is Southeast Asia in Transition: Re-thinking Education, Science and Culture for Regional Integration.

For the 2014 theme, SEAMEO Congress will bring together a diverse set of actors from government organizations, education institutions, industry, international and regional organizations and non-governmental organizations to discuss perspectives on how to best shape education and human resource development policies and practices for regional integration in Southeast Asia.

The following sub-themes are planned:

Sub-Theme 1: Re-shaping Education to Bridge Skills Gap
Sub-Theme 2: Prospects and Possibilities for Enhancing Science and Technology Education
Sub-Theme 3: Cultural Knowledge and Education for Regional Integration and Development

For more information, the conference programme and registration, please visit the conference homepage.

The art of the book in Southeast Asia: new digitised manuscripts from the British Library

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Henry D. Ginsburg was for many years curator for Thai collections at the British Library. Following his untimely death in 2007, the Trustees of his Estate endowed the post of ‘Henry Ginsburg Curator for Thai, Lao and Cambodian’ at the British Library, and also presented a further small legacy dedicated to enhancing access to the Southeast Asian collections. In line with Henry’s profound interest in manuscript art, seven of the most important illustrated and illuminated Southeast Asian manuscripts were selected for full digitisation, and these can now be seen on the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts viewer:

Or.14844, Truyện Kiều, The tale of Kiều, by Nguyễn Du, in Sino-Vietnamese. Some pages have annotations by Paul Pelliot, a French Sinologist (1898-1945).

Or.13681, ‘Depictions of Royal donations’, containing scenes of seven merit-making ceremonies performed in the years B.E. 1215-1219 (1853-1857 A.D.). The donations were probably made by Queen Tharasein of Mindon (r.1853-1878), whose name appears on a paper label stuck on the back cover of the manuscript.
Or.16761, ‘Depictions of royal entertainments’, illustrated folding book with gilded covers, 19th century.
Or.14178, Ramayana, illustrated folding book (parabaik) with brief captions in Burmese, 19th century.

MSS.Jav.28, Serat Selarasa, finely illustrated Javanese manuscript, 1804.
MSS.Jav.89, Serat Damar Wulan, fully illustrated Javanese manuscript, 18th century, possibly from Cirebon.

The hazards of crossing a river: scene from Serat Damar Wulan, Javanese MS, 18th c.  MSS Jav 89, f.41v (det.)

The hazards of crossing a river: scene from Serat Damar Wulan, Javanese MS, 18th c. MSS Jav 89, f.41v (det.)

Or.15227, Qur’an, finely illuminated Arabic manuscript from Kelantan or Patani, 18th-19th century.


These manuscripts join a large number of illustrated Thai manuscripts and royal letters which have been digitised with the generous support of the Royal Thai Government in honour of the 80th Birthday Anniversary of H.M. the King of Thailand. These manuscripts can also be accessed on the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts viewer: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Default.aspx
[NB Please note that the BL Digitised Manuscripts viewer was originally developed for Greek manuscripts, which read from left to right. For books that are read from right to left – such as those written in Vietnamese and Arabic – the ‘open book’ display option is not suitable, and the ‘single’ view option should be selected.]

Over the next few weeks we will be writing about some of these newly digitised manuscripts in more detail.

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead curator, Southeast Asian studies
Jana Igunma, Henry Ginsburg Curator for Thai, Lao and Cambodian
San San May, Curator for Burmese
Sud Chonchirdsin, Curator for Vietnamese

World Eco Fibre & Textile (WEFT) Art Exhibition

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Date: 18 January 2013 Time: 10:30 AM

Finishes: 23 March 2013 Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK

WEFT explores the three dimensionality of textile art through installations and sculptural constructions, where contemporary textile artists are currently taking fibre sculpture into new areas. This extraordinary exhibition gives an insight into these current trends, showing how textile art can be considered as another genre of fine art. Exhibits include the work of contributing artists from over 35 countries the world over.

This rich exhibition highlights the manner in which traditional resist techniques such as ikat, tritik, shibori, yuzen and batik, together with the art of embellishment such as embroidery and quilting, are applied to contemporary textile art. The emphasis is on hand-woven and hand-made textiles, as opposed to the machine-made. Hand-made textiles display the skills of the designer and the producer and reflect a long history of artistic and cultural tradition.

The textiles themselves illustrate and display the use of natural yarns and dyes as a means of artistic expression. Natural fibres such as cotton, silk, ramie, abaca, pina, hemp and bark are employed. Colours which derive from natural dye materials such as plant roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, insects and molluscs are also part of this process. The use of natural mordents in the interaction of fixing colour to the cloth is also emphasised in this vibrant exhibition.

During this exhibition there will be demonstrations of textile production from different countries, starting with Malaysia in January, India in February and China in March.

WEFT is curated by Edric Ong and presented in association with Society Atelier Sarawak, Malaysia.

The WEFT exhibition is launched with a symposium titled “Endangered Textile Traditions” to be held at SOAS on the 18th and 19th of January 2013. 

This symposium brings together the current work and research of international textile artists and scholars.

More detailed information and a programme of the symposium can be found at http://www.soas.ac.uk/gallery/weft/ .

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