TAASA Review Issues

March 2004

Vol: 13 Issue: 1
Editors: Sandra Forbes & Ann MacArthur

Image Caption
Family Tree by Zhang Huan, 2000. Detail of one of nine photographic images, C-print on Fuji archival paper, 220.98xl 77.8 cm. Reproduction courtesy of and © Zhong Huan. In this work, several calligraphers wrote in turn on the artist’s face, setting up subtle relationships between the artist, his family life and old Chinese teachings – ‘like overlaying  conversations’, writes Alicia Ritson in her article about the artist on pp.12-13 of this issue.

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Editorial

Sandra Forbes

This issue of TAASA Review is, as always, testament to how much is going on in the Asian arts field in Australia, and to the fascinating relationships and cross-fertilisations which can occur. The first example is our lead article, Jackie Menzies on the ‘Southern Seas’ or Nanhai trade in ceramics across Southeast Asia. Menzies illustrates her study with objects from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, where the article first saw life as a paper given at a TAASA symposium on the China Trade last November. Happily, a major review/ article in this issue by scholar Kerry Nguyen-Long complements the Nanhai article by covering the exhibition Lost for 500 Years: Sunken Treasures of Brunei Darussalam, where many Nanhai ceramics are also on display. The Brunei exhibition is in Sydney until April 2004, and will move to Canberra and then Perth later in the year.

Also on the subject of Nanhai: just prior to the publication of this issue, TAASA, in conjunction with the National Gallery of Victoria International, will have held a half-day seminar in Melbourne on virtually the same subject. This seminar (21 February 2004, principal speakers Dr Roxanna Brown and Dr Michael Flecker), was timed to precede the Christie’ s auction in Melbourne on 1-3 March of some thousands of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics from the ‘Binh Thuan’ shipwreck, salvaged recently off the coast of Vietnam and sold with the agreement of the Vietnamese government (which reportedly – and understandably! – retained the standout pieces). The Vietnamese dragon ewer illustrated on p.5 of this issue came from just such a wreck – the famous Hoi An hoard of 150,000 pieces of porcelain from a 15th century ship which also went down off the coast of Vietnam in an area known as the ‘Dragon Sea’.

Two other related articles in this issue are: that on Tibetan thangkas by Melbourne expert Suzy Lebasi, which had its origins in a paper she gave at a seminar on Tibetan art held in Townsville last year; and the review/ article by David Templeman on that seminar and the exhibition of the same name, on pp.18-19.

Membership of TAASA is not numerous in Townsville (though there must be potential for it to increase, as an astonishing 12,000 people visited the above exhibition). TAASA’s membership is largest in Sydney and in Melbourne, as might be expected. In both those states there are active subcommittees and focus groups. However, with a new TAASA State Representative just appointed for South Australia, we have high hopes of increased membership there. James Bennett, formerly of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and recently appointed Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, will be active on TAASA’s behalf in that state, and will write for us regularly. Meanwhile, Joanna Barrkmann, a textile expert who wrote on the exhibition Speaking with Cloth in our September 2003 Collections issue, will replace James as TAASA rep in the NT.

In Victoria, too, there are changes in relationships. As reported on page 26 of this issue, Marjorie Ho, who has served TAASA tirelessly for many years in Victoria, stepped down as TAASA’s Victorian State Representative at the end of 2003. The new TAASA State Rep in Victoria is Carol Cains, newly appointed as Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the NGVI. This has led to the establishment of a new relationship between TAASA and the NGVI, where TAASA members will have a free, exclusive tour of each of the exhibitions in the Asian Temporary Exhibitions Gallery. It is also hoped that the partnership will develop a program of lectures/ events to be held at the NGVI lecture theatre or in the Asian Galleries, of which the February ceramics seminar mentioned above is the first; while there will be a fee for these events, TAASA members will be charged at a special rate.

These plans should be of mutual benefit to TAASA and the NGV, and will complement the excellent relationships achieved in New South Wales between TAASA and both the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Powerhouse.

Table of contents

3 EDITORIAL COMMENT: RELATIONSHIPS – Sandra Forbes

4 THE NANHAI TRADE – Jackie Menzies

8 THANGKAS, PAINTED ICONS OF TIBET – Suzy Lebasi

11 TRAVELLER’ S CHOICE: THE CROW COLLECTION, DALLAS – Katherine Russell

12 ZHANG HUAN – PERFORMANCES – Alicia Ritson

14 TRADITION AND IMAGINATION: A TRIBUTE TO ANANDAVALLI – Kalpana Ram

16 BOOK REVIEW: PAGAN ‘S PAINTINGS – Charlotte Galloway

17 FRAGILITY AND STRENGTH: THE ART OF MARINE KY – Melanie Eastburn

18 EXHIBITION REVIEW: TIBET IN TOWNSVILLE – David Templeman

20 EXHIBITION REVIEW: WEALTH OF A SULTANATE – Kerry Nguyen-Long

22 EXHIBITION PREVIEW: MARVELS OF BRUSH AND INK – Sabrina Snow

24 WHAT’S ON IN AUSTRALIA – A SELECTIVE ROUND UP OF EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS

25 EXHIBITION PREVIEW: PLANTS AND DREAMS – Susan Purdy

26 TAASA ACTIVITIES IN SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE

27 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY MARCH – MAY 2004

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