TAASA Review Issues

December 1995

Vol: 4 Issue: 4
Editors: Ann MacArthur & Christina Sumner

Cover Photo
CELESTIAL MAIDEN (APSARAS) KHAJURAHO, MADHYA PRADESH CHANDELLA PERIOD, 10TH CENTURY SANDSTONE; 94 X 32 CM INDIAN MUSEUM, CALCUTTA (BR. 2/A25228)

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Editorial

Jackie Menzies and Pam Gutman 

The Cover of this issue illustrates one of the splendid pieces to be included in The Australian National Gallery’s forthcoming exhibition The vision of kings: art and experience in India. This event gives us cause to reflect on Australia’s long involvement with the art of India.

Australia’s appreciation of the arts of India extends back to our shared colonial past. Perhaps the earliest officially sponsored acquisitions were made by the New South Wales Commissioners at the Calcutta International Exhibition of 1883 – a collection of the intriguing Aligarh ware now at the Powerhouse Museum. Later acquisitions included the donated Gayer-Anderson collection of paintings which was shared between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Gallery of Australia.

Interest in Indian culture in Australia was stimulated through Indian Studies at the University of Sydney, especially under Professor Marjorie Jacobs and at the Australian National University under Professor A L Basham in the 1960s. This period saw a number of important exhibitions. Two Chola bronzes were borrowed from Delhi for a University of Sydney exhibition A survey of Indian art and in 1971 the 26th International Meeting of Orientalists provided an occasion for recent acquisitions of the then Commonwealth Art Advisory Board (later to become part of the National Gallery collection) to be exhibited at the National Library. These included two Chola bronzes of the 10th – 11th centuries depicting Balakrishna and Parasurama. As Michael Brand has mentioned in ‘In the Public Domain’ the national collection was presented with a 10th century stone sculpture by the Indian Government in honour of Mrs Gandhi’s 1969 visit.

Meanwhile curators at State galleries were endeavouring to expand their Indian holdings. John Guy in Victoria was responsible for the acquisition of an important Mathuran sculpture and other works, including illustrated manuscripts which formed part of a 1982 exhibition Palm-leaf and paper illustrated manuscripts of Indian and southeast Asia. This was followed by The spirit of India – a survey of Indian art curated by Michael O’Ferral at the Gallery of Western Australia in 1984. Last year Dick Richards curated an exhibition of sculpture from local collections in Adelaide.

The forthcoming Canberra exhibition and another planned for Sydney indicate a new phase of interest.

In recent years, too, Australian and Indian artists have been participating in exchanges, creating a reciprocal appreciation of contemporary art. This will be celebrated next year in the ‘Australia India New Horizons’ promotion coordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Exhibitions of Aboriginal art from the National and private collections are planned, along with others including multimedia and heritage. the latter will be curated by George Michell, who gave this year’s TAASA lecture, on Vijayanagar. With such impetus we can look forward to continuing artistic interchange between India and Australia into the 21st century.

Table of contents

COMMENT – Jackie Menzies and Pam Gutman

THE ROYAL PALACES OF INDIA – George Michell

TRANSCENDENT RITUALS OF TIBET – David Templeman

10  ZHANG YIMOU AND CHINESE LIFE – Yiyan Wang

13  TRADE OR TREASURE A SYMPOSIUM ON SOUTH-EAST ASIAN CERAMICS – Iain Clarke

14  VINDICATION OF A SUBTITLER – Chiaki Ajioka

16  INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE AND THE TEMPLE OF KONARAK – Rebecca Coote

18  INTO THE TEXTILE WORLDS OF SAM NEUA AND VIETNAM – Patricia Naenna

21  IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN – Michael Brand

22  IDENTITIES – Michael Atherton

24  COLLECTORS CHOICE AVALOKITESVARA – Gerry Virtue

25  REVIEWS AND PREVIEWS – Heleanor Feltham and Ann MacArthur

28  MEMBERS DIARY – James Hayes

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