Artworks from Nature

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Floral motifs carved on the flat bow of a large Madurese janggolan sail-trader disguise a demonic face – hinted at by the term for this structure, known as topengan. J Mellefont photo 1992

Artworks from Nature

Many splendid works of art have been carved from natural materials such as stone, wood and ivory. This event comprises talks from experts together with discussion of select objects that will be on show.


9.45 – 10.00 am Registration

10.00 – 10.30 am But is it the real thing? By Alan Lloyd, Retired Head of Conservation/Exhibitions Conservator, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Alan will talk about his encounters with questionable Asian Artworks, how some of them are made …and what to look out for !!

10.30 – 11.00 A Lao Pilgrimage by Bronwyn Campbell, Provenance Manager at the National Gallery of Australia

In 2010 the National Gallery of Australia acquired a pair of elephant shin bones carved with a fanciful amalgam of Lao sacred sites and scenes of daily life, showing two monks on a pilgrimage to the Buddha caves near the old royal city of Luang Phrabang, one-time capital of Lan Xang—the ‘kingdom of one million elephants’. Placing these enigmatic and apparently unique carvings within the wider context of Lao art has been a journey of discovery.

Bronwyn Campbell worked for four years in the early 2000s at the National Museum in Laos where she developed a passion for the little-known art of this culturally diverse nation.

11.00 – 11.30 am Tea break

11.30 – 12.00 pm Netsuke, Carving in Miniature by Victoria Tregaskis, Co-Director Oriental Antiques Pty Ltd

Victoria will be talking about collecting netsuke, the types of netsuke, the carvers, the materials, and what she looks for in a good netsuke.

12.00 – 12.30 pm Noah’s Art: talismanic carving on traditional Indonesian vessels by Jeffrey Mellefont, Honorary Research Associate, Australian National Maritime Museum

Many of Indonesia’s hand-built sea craft – central and defining artefacts of these Austronesian maritime cultures – have been richly decorated with ritually powerful, carved and painted motifs, functioning as magic talismans to safeguard vessel, crew and livelihoods. Aesthetically they represent the many layers of cultural and religious influences that have passed through the archipelago from prehistoric times – always borne by sea, whether by trade or colonial conquest.

Jeffrey Mellefont, former sailor, navigator and founding staff member of the Australian National Maritime Museum, has been examining Indonesian and wider Asian maritime traditions since the 1970s. In retirement he contributes to the museum in this field as an Honorary Research Associate.

12.30 – 1.00 pm Handling session with a selection of objects


How to Book: Email Chris Manning or phone Chris on 0412686025

How to Pay:

1. By Direct Debit (use “your name, Nature” as reference)
BSB: 012 003 Account Number: 2185 28414
Account Name: The Asian Arts Society of Australia

2. Via this website using credit card or Paypal – see bookings button above right.

3. By cheque made out to The Asian Arts Society of Australia, and sent to PO Box 996, Potts Point NSW 2011.



24 August, 2019
9:45 am - 1:00 pm AEST
Event Category:




Lecture Theatre EG02, Oxford St & Greens Rd
Paddington, NSW Australia
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