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TAASA Review

TAASA Review, the journal of the The Asian Art Society of Australia, is published quarterly in March, June, September and December each year. TAASA Review is 32 pages presented in full colour throughout and is distributed to members of The Asian Arts Society of Australia Inc. TAASA Review welcomes submissions of articles, notes and reviews on Asian visual and performing arts. All articles are refereed. Additional copies and subscription to theTAASA Review are available on request.

A basic Index to all back issues of TAASA Review since 1992 is available from this website.  You can search for items of interest in past TAASA Reviews by clicking on the ‘TAASA Review Index’ link at left.  Detailed information on the Contents of issues back to 2004 is also available (see left).

Copies of most past issues of the TAASA Review are available for purchase by contacting the editor at: editorial@taasa.org.au. Articles are not currently available in electronic form.

Editor: Josefa Green

Publications Committee: Josefa Green (convenor) • Tina Burge • Melanie Eastburn • Sandra Forbes • Charlotte Galloway • William Gourlay • Marianne Hulsbosch • Jim Masselos • Ann Proctor • Sabrina Snow • Christina Sumner

Design/Layout: Ingo Voss, VossDesign

Printing: John Fisher Printing

Email: editorial@taasa.org.au

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TAASA Review


Volume 23 No1 March 2014

Cover image: Prince Yeshwant Rao Holkar and his sister Manorama Raje (detail ) c.1916, Gopinath Devare (Devare & co.), Mumbai (Bombay), India. Gelatin silver photograph, watercolour, original gilded frame, image 36.7 x 26.6 cm, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

TAASA cover

Contents

3 Editorial: ROYAL COLLECTIONS IN ASIA
Melanie Eastburn & Niki van den Heuvel, Guest Editors

4 PURI AGUNG: PRESERVING KARANGASEMíS ROYAL PALACE IN BALI
Niki van den Heuvel

7 THE ROYAL ANTIQUITIES COLLECTION OF THE NGUYEN DYNASTY, VIETNAM
Kerry Nguyen-Long

10 THE JEWELLED WORLD OF BURMESE KINGS
Charlotte Galloway

12 THE ROYAL COLLECTIONS IN CIREBON, INDONESIA: A LIVING TRADITION
Joanna Barrkman

14 THE QUEEN SIRIKIT MUSEUM OF TEXTILES, BANGKOK
Piyanan (Poom) Petcharaburanin

16 THE SHOSO-IN TREASURY Ė A ROYAL COLLECTION BOTH EXTRAORDINARY AND EVERYDAY
Robyn Maxwell

18 THE HOFFOTO GRAAF: PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER TO ROYALTY IN ASIA
Gael Newton

22 MODEST CONNOISSEUR: INDONESIAN TEXTILES IN THE LIVES OF JOHN YU & GEORGE SOUTTER
Siobhan Campbell

26 ROYAL ART IN THE COLLECTION OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA
Melanie Eastburn

28 BOOK REVIEW: PHOTOGRAPHING INDIAíS PRINCES
Jim Masselos

30 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES

30 TAASA Membersí Diary: MARCH - MAY 2014

31 WHATíS ON: MARCH - MAY 2014
Compiled by Tina Burge

Editorial: Royal Collections in Asia

Melanie Eastburn & Niki van den Heuvel, Guest Editors

When the idea for a special TAASA Review issue devoted to royal collections of Asia was suggested by Gael Newton and Robyn Maxwell the concept was immediately appealing. From the earliest conversations regarding the content of this issue we realized that it was vast with possibilities and enough ideas for several volumes presented themselves. We are pleased that the final result brings to readers a selection including less well-known and sometimes surprising collections, most of which are accessible to the public.

Throughout Asia some of the finest arts have been produced under the patronage of powerful rulers who sought to mark and assert their presence through the construction of palatial and secular architecture and the commissioning of lavish ceremonial and courtly goods. Imperial dynasties established across expansive mainland and insular regions have resulted in a rich diversity of royal treasures. Although many are now included in international collections, private and public, others remain in situ. While royal holdings in India and Japan are explored in this issue, Southeast Asia is a particular focus, with most articles relating to courts in Thailand, Burma, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Piyanan Petcharaburanin from the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in Bangkok gives an introduction to the Museum from its inception to its current role as a state of the art institution inspired by the passion of Queen Sirikit. In November 2013 the Museum hosted an exceptional conference, Weaving royal traditions through time, which included diverse sessions spanning textiles for the Thai court and conservation at the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan to contemporary fashion designed for the royal families of Malaysia and Brunei.

Following a fortuitously timed visit to Japan in 2012, Robyn Maxwell writes about the precious 8th century objects associated with the reign of Emperor Shomu and stored at the Shoso-in repository of Todai-ji temple in Nara. A rotating selection of these works of art is available for viewing for just a few days each year.

Charlotte Galloway looks at treasures from the courts of Burma that have survived a tumultuous history, some of which are now displayed at the National Museum in Yangon. From descriptions of the gilded opulence of the 16th century to the deposal of the last Burmese king Thibaw in 1885 and the ensuing years of colonization and independence, Charlotte gives insight into the meaning and purpose of these exceptional works of art.

Focusing on the royal antiquities of Vietnamís Nguyen dynasty, Kerry Nguyen-Long has written a fascinating history of the dynastyís regalia. Along with a detailed account of some of the most prized seals, crowns and jade objects, Kerry provides an in-depth account of their production in dedicated handicraft units.

Indonesia receives attention from a number of perspectives this issue. Inspired by recent travels, Joanna Barrkman describes a unique display of ceramics as well as wayang kulit puppets in royal collections in Cirebon, alongside investigation into the development of Cirebon batik motifs. Further emphasis on Indonesian textiles is provided by Siobhan Campbell who discusses a forthcoming exhibition of cloths from the collection of John Yu and his late partner George Soutter.

Gael Newton, whose exhibition Garden of the East: photography in Indonesia 1850sĖ1940s at the National Gallery of Australia coincides with this edition of the TAASA Review, discusses the way in which interest in photography, in particular portrait photography of royalty, spread rapidly from Europe to the courts of Thailand and Indonesia from the mid 19th century. Photography is also explored in Jim Masselosí review of Pramod Kumarís sumptuous book Posing for Posterity: Royal Indian Portraits, an investigation into photographs belonging to the royal families f India.

As guest editors we are also happy to have been able to contribute content on collections close to our hearts. Reflecting on time spent working in Bali and Lombok, Niki gives a personal take on the history and holdings of Puri Karangasem where she worked as a curator for a year, while Melanie considers a group of objects associated with royal dynasties in various parts of Asia which are now held by the National Gallery of Australia.

 Pat-tala and beaters, Burma, 1875-1925.

Detail of textile (kalaga) Burma 1990-1925

Man’s silver bangle, Akha, Laos, 1900-1994

 

Detail of ceremonial cloth (pua) Iban, Sarawak c.1945-1965.

Gift of Alastair Morrison, 1994

Collection Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

© 2003 The Asian Arts Society of Australia. All rights reserved.