Monuments, image and icons: temple complexes of southeast asia

The Art and Architecture of Southeast Asia
Course Description
The course is designed to help students familiarise themselves with the history of art, architecture and material culture of Southeast Asia from early centuries to the advancement of Islam. The people of this large and diverse tropical region drew selectively from older religious, artistic and technological cultures such as India and China to develop a sacred art and architecture that was entirely their own and of an unequalled variety and splendour. Core thematic issues that will be covered include state formations, first kingdoms, religious changes and artistic practice, art and identity, art and politics, kingship and temples, temple iconography and rituals. A range of approaches based on current international scholarship will enable the students to critically analyse key representative monuments, sculpture and artefacts. Students will be required to write an essay of 1000 words and identify slides towards getting a strong foundational knowledge of this region. Lec. 1 [22-1-2013]
[Swati Chemburkar – SC]
Early States of Southeast Asia: Archaeology, Iconography and Influences
The idea that ‘Indianization' (implying a form of medieval colonisation) was responsible for
the development of early Southeast Asia is now largely discredited. For years, Southeast
Asia has been considered more as a receptor rather than a creator of its own history and
culture. The influence of travellers from Southeast Asia who frequently ventured out to
explore the world and returned home has long been understated – perhaps because the
historians who pioneered the history in the 1920s-1960s were predisposed towards colonial
models. Prior to the 4th century CE, Indian trade activities appear to have been relatively
infrequent, when assessed through the number of items of Indian origin recovered and the
incentives for such trade from the Indian point of view. But after the 4th century, the adoption
of sub-continental traditions of religious concepts and iconography, Sanskrit texts and
terminology, coinage and commerce, and terms for distinguishing political hierarchies are
found throughout the area of Southeast Asia, from Burma to Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam
and Thailand as well as the larger Indonesian Islands. The five early polities- Funan/Zhenla,
Champa, Pyu/Mon pre-Burma, Malay Srivijaya and Mon Dvaravati emerged between the
period spanning the 2nd to 6th centuries CE. Why and how the Indian influences penetrated is
still a question but temple construction and image making clearly became the major tokens
and sources of political power and this led to the fledgling Southeast Asian states
constructing some of the biggest monuments on earth.


Coedès, George (1968) The Indianized States of Southeast Asia Honolulu, Hawaii University Press [pages 8-10, 14-35]

Briggs, Lawrence P. (1951) ‘The Ancient Khmer Empire' Transactions of the American Philosophical Society New Series Vol. 41, part 1 Reprint 1999 White Lotus press, Bangkok [pages 12-17, 37-41, 88-114, 178-90, 196-216, 228-36] Jacques, Claude (2007) The Khmer Empire Bangkok, River Books [pages 49-65] Vickery, Michael [1998] Society, economics and politics in Pre-Angkor Cambodia: the 7th-8th centuries UNESCO, The Toyo Bunko [pages 33-46, 51-60] Lec.2 [24-1-2013]
My Son and Dong Duong: Champa Flourishes
One of the earliest and most prominent temple complexes of South-East Asia is My-Son in Champa, present day Vietnam. The first Sanctuary at My-Son was built in 4th century CE and consecrated with Shivalinga-Bhadreshwara, starting the custom of naming the deity by combining the name of the king with ishvara - god, in line with the concept that the king fused with his god upon death. The autochthonous serpent and phallic worship combined with that of the Indic Nagarajas and a universal Hindu god transformed Champa into a thriving maritime state with a large Shiva temple complex at My Son. By the 9th century, Buddhism, which had long been present in Champa, rose to pre-eminence in the vast Dong Duong brick temple and monastery complex in Quang Nam province, only 20 km from My Son. The two sites flourished together in a typical model of Southeast Asian syncretism. King Jayaindravarman dedicated this tantric Buddhist complex of 875 CE to Lakshmindralokeshvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion and the protector of the new Indrapura dynasty. The largest temple ever constructed by the Cham, Dong Duong is one of two primary Cham sites that have yielded both important architectural ruins and significant artifacts. Readings
Guillon, Emmanuel (2001) Cham Art Bangkok, River Books Guillon, Emmanuel (2008) ‘The archaeology of Champa, north of Hue—towards new perspectives' in Interpreting Southeast Asia's Past: Monument, Image and Text Eds E. Bacus, I. Glover, P. Sharrock Singapore NUS [pages 73-84] Mabbett, Ian (1986:289-313) ‘Buddhism in Champa' in Southeast Asia in the 9th to 14th centuries Eds Marr and Milner, Singapore, ISEAS [pages 289-313] Phuong, Tran Ky (2008) ‘The relationship between architecture and sculpture in Cham sacred art of the seventh to the ninth centuries CE' in Interpreting Southeast Asia's Past: Monument, Image and Text Eds E. Bacus, I. Glover, P. Sharrock Singapore NUS [pages 55-72] Nguyen, Trian (2005:5-38) ‘Lakśmīndralokeśvara, Main Deity of the Ðồng Dương Monastery: A
Masterpiece of Cham Art and a New Interpretation' Artibus Asiae Vol. 65, No. 1 [PDF]

Schweyer, Anne-Valérie (2011) Ancient Vietnam, History, Art and Archaeology River Books, Bangkok Lec. 3 [29-1-2013]
Borobudur: Stupa or Mandala?
Borobudur is an immense early 9th century Javanese Buddhist monument in the form of a scalable stupa bearing many series of narrative relief carvings of powerful and unique iconography. Various explanations have been offered for the arrangement of the reliefs, the functioning of the monument, the nature of Buddhism and the origin of the builders. Some scholars see Borobudur as the embodiment of the tantric Buddhist Vajradhatu mandala, first defined in the 7th-8th century Sarva-tathagata-tattva-samgraha, the supreme esoteric Buddhist ritual text from Nalanda; others still contest this. Many questions about the monument remain unsolved till date. Readings
Chandra, Lokesh (1986:39-55) ‘Cultural contacts of Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the eighth century and their bearing on Barabudur' Journal of the Asiatic Society Vol. XXVIII.1 Klokke, Marijke J. (1996) ‘Borobudur: a mandala? A contextual approach to the function and meaning of Borobudur' in International Institute for Asian Studies Yearbook 1995 (IIAS) Ed. Paul van der Velde, Leiden [pages 191-219] Miksic, John (1990) Borobudur, golden tales of the Buddha Singapore, Periplus Lec. 4 [31-1-2013]
Borobudur Reliefs
No other monument in the world accomplishes the scale and carved reliefs of Borobudur. The 1460 narrative panels of Borobudur were created to illustrate five Buddhist scriptures. Although the reliefs still pose many questions, scholars have resolved the mysteries regarding the texts upon which they are based. The reliefs from Karmavibhanga, Jatakas, Lalitavistara, Gandavyuha and Avatamshaka sutra convey an underlying message of the Buddhism. Lec. 5 [5-2-2013]
[Dr. A. Khambata - AK]
Prambanan: Sculpture and Dance in Ancient Java- study in dance iconography
The 10th century Hindu temple complex in Central Java, Indonesia comprises 240 temples. Was dedicated to the important Hindu gods- Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma along with their respective Vahanas. Contemporary to Borobudur, the construction of this royal temple was

probably started by Rakai Pikatan, a Sanjaya king as an answer to Buddhist Shailendra to mark the return of the Sanjaya dynasty. The most famous temple is the Shiva temple- Loro Jonggrang with beautiful bas-reliefs telling the story of Ramayana on the inner side of the balustrade and depicting 62 panels of dancers and musicians on the outer side of the balustrade. The lecture discusses the important historical issue of sculpture, dance practice and the Natyashastra in Indonesia with reference to these reliefs. The main questions to be asked are why Karana [units of dance movement] would be found outside India and whether Prambanan reliefs can truly tell us something about dance performance in Java. The karana of Prambanan are not copies of Indian material. They are about 200 years older than the first known karana series, at the Brihadishvara temple in Tanjore. Based on the Natyashastra these karana reliefs in Java highlight the relationship between the performance practice and visual arts. Lec. 6 [7-2-2013]
Eastern Java and Deified Royalty: Singasari and Majapahit
One of the most important religious developments during the Singasari and Majapahit period was the merging of Hinduism and Buddhism into one religious system, not as syncretistic belief combining elements of both religions but rather as two separate paths within one overall system. Another development that crystallized during this period concerns the deification of kings and queens after death. The kings of the Singasari and Majapahit periods were considered incarnations of whichever god or gods they favoured, most often Siva and/or Buddha. Majapahit, the greatest Javanese empire produced some really beautiful temple complexes, just before the arrival of Islam and ruled much of modern Indonesia. Readings
Chutiwongs, Nandana, ‘Candi Singasari: A Recent Study' in Interpreting Southeast Asia's Past: Monument, Image and Text Eds E. Bacus, I. Glover, P. Sharrock Singapore NUS [pages 100-121] Fontein, J., Soekmono R. and Sedyawati (1990) The Sculpture of Indonesia, Washington, National Gallery of Art. Reichle, Natasha (2007) Violence and Serenity: Late Buddhist Sculpture from Indonesia University of Hawai'I, Honolulu Holt, C. (1967) Art in Indonesia, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press

Lec. 7 [12-2-2013]
Candi Sukuh and Ceto: The End of an Era
Mountains figure prominently in Javanese religion and culture as holy places and the abode of gods. Mountain sites provide an ideal environment in which to pursue the search for enlightenment and ultimate truth. Since most of the Majapahit religious practices focused on the worship of deceased rulers and elaborate rituals performed by elite, religious individuals may have been drawn to the mountains for personal devotions and worship of their own ancestors. The 15th century founders of Candi Sukuh may have selected a site that had been sacred since ancient times for the worship of ancestors, nature spirits and the observance of fertility cults. The expansive terraces, truncated stepped pyramid and monoliths are strikingly different than the earlier Majapahit temples. The reassembled site of Ceto is a question mark but it continues to serve as supernatural site for the local believers. Lec. 8 [14-2-2013]
Asmat Shields and Malangan masks
The aesthetics of art is inextricable from its utility value in Melanesian societies. A shield design was considered powerful enough to knock over a foe when the Asmat were head-hunters and before Western missionaries inserted external values into their culture. A new shield design, with powerful representations of ‘flying fox' fruit bats and praying mantises, was so valued that it had to be verified for intellectual property rights with neighbouring groups before being used in earnest. The Mentawi people tell researchers an arrow that is not beautifully carved could never find its way through the forest air to its monkey prey. Superbly- carved ‘Malangan' funeral masks somehow capture the life of the deceased and provide a focal point for remembrance, inheritance and settlement of debts. They are discarded as useless afterwards. Early anthropological accounts of the men's house over several years, are brought out and eventually destroyed after days and nights of dancing and communal coupling in communion with their gods. We will think about how we approach and interpret art from remote societies like this, which German philosophers called Hermeneutics. The same issues arise in studying 'tribal' art in India. Readings
Kaufmann, Christian, (1997) ‘Melanesia' in Oceanic Art Kaeppler, A. Kaufmann, C. & Newton, D. trans. Nora Scott, New York, Harry N. Abrams [pages 159-365 Gunn Michael (1997) Ritual Arts of Oceania, New Ireland Skira Forge A. (1979) ‘The Problem of Meaning' in Exploring the Visual Art of Oceania Ed. S. Mead, Honolulu, University Press of Hawaii [pages 278-86]

Lec. 9 [15-2-2013]
[Dr. Peter D. Sharrock- PS]
‘Dvaravati'and the pre-Thai Khorat Plateau
Before the formation of the first Thai state in the 13th century, the people of Chao Phraya valley liven in complex societies wealthy enough to build Buddhist temples and cast bronzes with stunning original designs. The most famous Dvaravati wheels of Law or Dharmachakras are the stone wheels are similar to the ones erected by king Ashoka in India. Our knowledge of Dvaravati is based on few coins and sculptures and we don't really know whether it was a ‘state' or just a chieftainship. Another equally strong polity called ‘Sri Canasa' existed to the east of Khorat Plateau. The recent discovery of 200 Prakhan Chai Bronzes of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas attests to an advanced and wealthy Buddhist culture in the 8th 9th centuries in Isan, the North-eastern part of Modern Thailand, for which we have no historical or social context. A recent publication has brought to light a large range of sacred bronzes published for the first time from private collections that are changing our understanding of how closely the Mon and Khmer world east of 'Dvaravati' maintained close religious and artisanal links with the tantric third wave of Buddhism centred on the Ganges monasteries under the Pala Dynasty. Java has long known to have been in close touch with Nalanda but now it is emerging that Khorat also had close links with Vikramasila, Orissa and Bengal. Readings
Brown, Robert L. (1996) The Dvaravati Wheels of the Law and the Indianization of South East Asia Leiden, E.J. Brill [pages 46-65, 183-199] Bunker, Emma C. and Latchford, Douglas (2011) Khmer bronzes: New interpretations of the Past Art Media Resources Chicago Indrawooth, Phasook (2004)The archaeology of the early Buddhist kingdoms of Thailand' in Southeast Asia, From prehistory to history, edited by Ian Glover and Peter Bellwood, Routledge Curzon, London and New York Skilling, Peter (2006) ‘Buddhist Sealings in Thailand and Southeast Asia: Iconography, Function and Ritual Context' in Interpreting Southeast Asia's Past: Monument, Image and Text Eds E. Bacus, I. Glover, P. Sharrock Singapore NUS [pages 248-62] Lec. 10 [18-2-2013]
Naga-enthroned Buddha: pitfalls in art history
Why was the predominant Buddhist icon of ancient Angkor a Buddha seated on the coils of a giant, multi-headed serpent with raised cobra hood? The 12th century inscriptions in Angkor never name the Khmer Buddha or explain his naga throne, despite his being the principal image in the central sanctuary of the Bayon, Angkor's first Buddhist state temple. The icon is very widely taken to represent the Naga Mucalinda sheltering the Buddha from a

storm six weeks after his enlightenment. Some scholars have expressed puzzlement at why this minor episode in the Sakyamuni biography should have found such favour with the Mahayanist Khmers. I recommend we reject this as a wrong interpretation and suggest that the Khmer naga and Mucalinda are Doppelgänger with quite different meanings -- a conclusion reached after examining the Buddhist contexts of the Khmer icon's naga-enthroned predecessors in Amaravati, Sri Lanka, Malay Peninsula and Northeast Thailand. The Angkorian Buddha, I claim, should be seen as the Khmer Vairocana or ‘Sarvavid' (‘Omniscient', named in one key inscription), the great fifth Buddha of the tantric Vajrayana and unrelated to the minor Mucalinda biographical episode which later returns in the southern Buddhism of modern Thailand, Burma and Cambodia. By looking at the Bayon Buddha through the prism of the more recent Theravadin image, we have distorted the principal icon of the ancient Khmers Lec. 11 [19-2-2013]
The Question of ‘connoisseurship' in Khmer Sculpture
French art historians classified the art of the great Khmer Empire into 'styles' named after the principal city of temple of a period. This tracked everything from changes in physiognomy, dress and jewellery down to the smallest decorative motif in architecture and gifted to the art history of this remote culture a 3-dimensional map of the cultural landscape as it developed through the centuries. Detailed knowledge at this level, classified into groups that provide a shorthand for expression, laid the basis for connoisseurship in the field which is of crucial importance today in the art market, auction houses galleries, museums, dealers and collectors. It is such expertise, after conducting the few (expensive) scientific tests available, that is still the bedrock of this industry -- and it is naturally open to terrible mistakes! We will look at how 'styles' were classified, look one layer lower at detectable master-workshops within a 'style', and look at a series of originals and fakes in the art market.and in the museums! Lec. 12 [21-2-2013]
Heaven on Earth: Symbolism of Angkor Wat
Archaeology has shown that the first Indic deity to reach South-East Asia was Vishnu. But by the 8th century Vishnu ceded pre-eminence to Shiva. King Jayavarman II, who is acknowledged in inscriptions as the founder of the Khmer state in 802, brought in tantric Shaivism as the state religion. For three centuries after Jayavarman's reign the royal Khmer calendar of festivals and rituals in Angkor was based on Shaiva precedent. But when a youthful prince usurped the throne of the ever more powerful and flourishing empire and began building one of its greatest monuments, he dedicated it to Vishnu. This extraordinary historical shift back to Vishnu is manifested in Angkor Wat, the huge and beautifully carved sandstone monument, one of the wonders of the ancient world. It comes as no surprise that

the builder, King Suryavarman II sent an envoy to study with the bhakti-advocating Vaishnava sage Ramanuja in India. This lecture explores this spectacular monument's secrets and mysteries. Readings
Jacques, Claude (2007) The Khmer Empire Bangkok, River Books [pages 13-38, 201-16] Maxwell, T.S. and Poncar J. (2007) Of gods, kings and men London, Thames & Hudson Mannika, Eleanor (1996) Angkor Wat: Time Space and Kingship Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press [pages 27-58, 106-19, 125-54] Roveda, Vittorio (2002) Sacred Angkor Bangkok, River Books Lec. 13 [26-2-2013]
Bayon: Enigma of the Face Towers
Buddhism had reached the Khmers by at least the 5th century CE, but it only came to dominate their syncretic state religion with the accession, through battle, of King Jayavarman VII in 1182. The Bayon temple, towering like a sandstone skyscraper above the great Khmer imperial capital, is world-renowned for its dominant series of 59 giant face towers, which seem to turn the whole vast edifice into a into a many-headed icon of an all encompassing tantric Buddha. Yet the new imperial temple also houses a series of sanctuaries dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. Architectural scholars consider these towers the most distinctive innovation of ancient Khmer civilization. The inauguration stone dedicating the Bayon to its deities has never been found, so the identity of the giant faces has remained the greatest enigma of Angkor. Readings
Cunin, Olivier (2008) ‘How many Face Towers in the Bayon?' in Interpreting Southeast Asia's Past: Monument, Image and Text Eds E. Bacus, I. Glover, P. Sharrock Singapore NUS [pages 9-24] Dowling, Nancy (2000) ‘New light on early Cambodian Buddhism' The Journal of the Siam Society Vol.88 Bangkok [pages 122-55] Maxwell, Thomas S. (2007) ‘Religion at the time of Jayavarman VII' in Bayon, New Perspectives Ed. Joyce Clark, Bangkok, River Books [pages 21-121] Sharrock, Peter D. (2007) ‘The mystery of the Bayon face towers' in Bayon, New Perspectives Ed. Joyce Clark, Bangkok, River Books [pages 230-81] Lec. 14 [5-3-2013]
Banteay Chhmar: Hot New Khmer Site of King Jayavarman VII
The best recent piece of archaeological news from Cambodia is that the Global Heritage Fund has now finally begun the restoration of the long-neglected Banteay Chhmar, the last great jungle temple of ancient Cambodia. Where is it? When was it built? What is its current state and why is it such an important monument? Part of the answer is that a 14th century Shaiva reaction at Angkor against Jayavarman's state Buddhism damaged the Bayon and his other temples in the capital, but surprisingly it didn't touch Banteay Chhmar. So this temple is the only one built by Angkor's greatest king whose original iconography remains intact. The huge temple complex, close to the modern Thai border, was heavily looted by the Thais of Ayutthaya, who wanted to drink in the imperial power of the declining Khmers and who even considered carrying Angkor Wat on the backs of elephants to the new Thai capital. The remote site also suffered from remaining unprotected during the Khmer Rouge period of the late 1970s. But it still holds the longest and most complete outer gallery narrative reliefs of the King's temples and these include elements that are now helping us penetrate the exact kind of esoteric Buddhism that underpinned the Bayon state temple itself. Readings
Sharrock, Peter D. ed. (2012) Banteay Chhmar, the last great forest temple River Books, Bangkok Boeles, J.J. (1966) ‘Two Yoginis of Hevajra from Thailand' in Essays offered to G.H. Luce Eds Ba Shin and J. Boisselier, Ascona, Artibus Asiae [pages 14-29] Woodward, Hiram (1981:57-67) ‘Tantric Buddhism at Angkor Thom' Ars Orientalis 12 [pages 57-67] Woodward, H. (2001) ‘Practice and belief in ancient Cambodia: Claude Jacques' Angkor and the Devaraja question' Journal of SEA Studies 32 (2) June [pages 249-61] Sharrock, Peter (2008) ‘The Yoginis of the Bayon' in Interpreting Southeast Asia's Past: Monument, Image and Text Eds E. Bacus, I. Glover, P. Sharrock Singapore NUS [pages 165-83] Lec. 15 (7-3-2013)
[Dr. Dawn Rooney- DR]
Sukhothai – Icons and Temples
Much of our knowledge of the history of the Sukhothai Kingdom (c. 1240 – 1438) is based on the Ramkhamhaeng Inscription, dated 1292 CE. Its text has become a symbol of Thai-ness and cultural identity. Even though some scholars question its authenticity, the inscription did provide Thai letters and a writing system. The establishment of Theravada Buddhism at Sukhothai set the kingdom up as a center of religious activity that was the catalyst for extensive building of temples and shrines to support the burgeoning kingdom. Artisans adapted the bell-shaped stupa form from Sri Lanka. And architectural fixtures drew inspiration from the art of earlier regional cultures such as the Mon states and the Khmer and Lanna kingdoms. Colossal images of the Buddha in stone and the ethereal walking Buddha in bronze are ubiquitous with the Sukhothai Kingdom. The artistic innovations of 14th century Sukhothai set a standard that serves as the foundation of Thai art in the 21st century. Readings
Art from Thailand, Robert L. Brown, Ed. (1999) Mumbai, Marg publications. Gosling, Betty, Origins of Thai Art (2004) Bangkok, River Books. The Mon Over Two Millennia, Monuments, Manuscripts, Movements, Patrick McCormick, Mathias Jenny, and Chris Baker, Eds. (2011) Bangkok, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University Rooney, Dawn F. (2008) Ancient Sukhothai, Thailand's Cultural Heritage, Bangkok, River Books Woodward, Hiram ((2003) The Art and Architecture of Thailand, From Prehistoric Times through the Thirteenth Century, Leiden, E.J. Brill Lec.16 (8-3-2013)
Southeast Asian Ceramics
Fired clay vessels for domestic and ritual use have been excavated at prehistoric sites throughout mainland South East Asia and confirm an early pottery tradition. Little is known, however, about ceramic production in the region in the succeeding period of the first decade in the Common Era. Between the ninth and sixteenth centuries, though, five countries on the mainland produced quality glazed wares at varying times and for different purposes. This lecture looks at the ceramic traditions of Burma [Myanmar], Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam – and explores their role in the cultural context of the kingdoms and dynasties during which the ceramics were produced. Our knowledge of these South East Asian wares has increased substantially in the past three decades through: the identification of over 100 shipwrecks in the region carrying ceramic cargo; finds of previously unknown kilns in Burma; and land excavations in Cambodia. Readings
Brown, Roxanna M, The Ceramics of South-East Asia, Their Dating and Identification, 2nd ed. (1988) Singapore, Oxford University Press Honda, hiromu and Noriki Shimazu, The Beauty of Fired Clay, Ceramics from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, Dawn F. Rooney, Intro (1997) Bangkok, River Books Rooney, Dawn F. (2010) Khmer Ceramics, Beauty and Meaning, Bangkok, River Books Shaw, J.C, Thai Ceramics (2009) First published in 1987 as Introducing Thai Ceramics, also Burmese and Khmer, Bangkok, Craftsman Press Southeast Asian Ceramics, New Light on Old Pottery John N. Miksic, Ed, (2009) Singapore, Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, Editions Didier Millet Stevenson John and John Guy, Vietnamese Ceramics, A Separate Tradition (1997) Chicago, Art Media Resources Thai Ceramics The James and Elaine Connell Collection, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (1993) Kuala Lumpur, Oxford University Press Lec. 17 (11-3-2013)
Pagan: First Kingdom of Burma
The now disappeared Pyu people, descended from the Tibetan plateau into the wide valley of the Ayerwaddy River, settled a dry river-side plain in central Burma in the 9th century and began one of the richest temples sites on earth. The huge Pagan complex of some 2,000 temples reflects a magnificent continuity of Buddhist architectural and iconic tradition. The fusion of the Pyu, who had built the huge early city of Shrikshetra, with the Mons of southern Burma, dominated by a strong Theravada lineage of monks, produced a great range of structures, from towering gilded stupas to elaborately embellished wooden monasteries. Temple construction boomed through the 9th-13th centuries at the royal city of Pagan and can be seen today in the magnificent Ananda, Mahabodhi and Shwezigon temples. Further down the Ayerwaddy the Burmese built the incomparable gleaming gold Shwedagon pagoda in the modern capital Yangon, whose replica is now gracing the skyline of Mumbai. As Historians we are used to thinking about the past but how did people in the past think and use the past? The material record of objects, monuments and landscape may suggest some answers to the issue. Readings
Luce Gordon H. (1969) Old Burma - Early Pagan Vol.I, Artibus Asiae and The Institute of Fine Arts, New York Moore, Elizabeth and Mayer H., (1999) Shwedagon: Golden Pagoda of Myanmar, London, Thames and Hudson Stadtner, Donald ed. (1999) The Art of Burma MARG Publications, Vol. 50. Béguin, Gilles, Buddhist Art, An Historical and Cultural Journey (2009) Bangkok, River Books Gutman, Pamela, Burma's Lost Kingdoms, Splendours of Arakan (2001) Bangkok, Orchid Press Moore, Elizabeth H., Early Landscapes of Myanmar (2007) Bangkok, River Books Stadner, Donald M. Ancient Pagan, Buddhist Plain of Merit (2005) Bangkok, River Books Stadtner, Donald M. Sacred Sites of Burma, Myth and Folklore in an Evolving Spiritual Realm (2011) Bangkok, River Books Lec. 18 (12-3-2013)
The Art of the Ayutthaya and Bangkok Periods
This lecture traces the development of the art and architecture that began at Sukhothai to the Ayutthaya (1350-1767) and Bangkok (1782 to present) periods. All written records of Thailand's history were destroyed in the sacking of the capital of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767. And the existing chronicles were mainly compiled at a much later date. Material objects and architectural remains, therefore, are crucial evidence for the Ayutthaya period. The inauguration of the Bangkok period in 1782 marked the beginning of the Chakri Dynasty and the reign of Rama I (the present king of Thailand is Rama IX). When rebuilding the country, kings gave special attention to Thailand's artistic heritage. Temples were decorated with murals, mouldings, and wood carvings; music and dance were revitalized; the Ramakien was written and enacted in the performing arts. A strong Chinese influence stimulated by the increasing Chinese population in Thailand appeared in the arts. Rama IV, the first Thai monarch to travel abroad, returned with the goal of "refashioning" Thailand's public image so that the country would be viewed by westerners as a civilized nation. Despite the craze for things European, the architecture and decorative styles initiated at Sukhothai maintained a strong identity. This lecture demonstrates how Sukhothai aesthetics in the Thai classical tradition continue today and are firmly implanted even in the works of contemporary Thai artists, both traditional and expressionists. Readings
Art from Thailand, Robert L. Brown, Ed. (1999) Mumbai, Marg publications. Ayutthaya, Charnvit Kasetsiri Ed (2003) Bangkok, Toyota Foundation The Kingdom of Siam, The Art of Central Thailand, 1350-1800 (2005) San Francisco, Asian Art Museum Peleggi, Maurizio, Lords of Things, The Fashioning of the Siamese Monarchy's Modern Image (2002) Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press Lec. 19 [14-3-2013]
Stories in Stone: The narrative reliefs of Angkor Wat, Bayon and Banteay Chhmar
The large relief panels of the galleries of Angkor Wat are the first narrative reliefs that one encounters when entering the temple. The stories continue on the pediments, half pediments, pillars and lintels. At one level, the relief concern Vishnu and episodes from the lives of his avataras- Krishna and Rama but on the other level they are symbolic of Suryavarman II's affirmation of power and right to rule over Khmer empire. Unlike the reliefs of Angkor Wat, Bayon and Banteay Chhmar reliefs tells us about the city life, society and historical incidences of Jayavarman VII's period. Lec. 20 (19-3-2013)
Phimai: Buddhist Tantra and the Beginnings of a New Era
The western wing of the ancient Khmer Empire abutted the wonderfully artistic culture of the Mon people of the Khorat plateau and the Chao Phya River basin of today's central Thailand. Both people spoke a dialect of Mon-Khmer and relations were pacific for centuries. But in the 10th century the Brahmanical Khmers began an expansion that would create the largest empire outside China. By the 11th century the Mon cities were engulfed and the only new monuments built were in distinctly Khmer style. At the heart of the Khorat Plateau in modern Northeast Thailand (Isan), there arose a huge esoteric Buddhist temple stone complex in sandstone at Phimai. This was built by a Khmer usurper, king Jayavarman VI, who founded the Mahidhara dynasty that would build Angkor Wat and the Bayon. The central sanctuary of Phimai, carved on the exterior with striking scenes from the Ramayana, contains large and beautifully carved pediments of the supreme esoteric Buddha, Vajrasattva, and his fierce emanation Chakrasamvara, who bursts open the elephant hide of illusion. Readings
Aymonier, Etienne (1999) Khmer Heritage in Thailand. Bangkok, White Lotus Daguan, Zhou (2006) The Customs of Cambodia. Bangkok, The Siam Society Dumarçay, J., and P. Royère (2001) Cambodian Architecture Eighth to Thirteenth Century. Boston, Brill Woodward Hiram (2005) The Art and Architecture of Thailand. Leiden, Brill Lec. 21 [21-3-2013]
Balinese Hinduism: Cultural Heritage
Lec. 22 [26-3-2013]
Ramayana in the Arts of Southeast Asia
The lecture examines the role of Hindu epic Ramayana in the historical and cultural contact between Asia and Hindu India. In the process of the analysis, an attempt will be made to determine and evaluate the Hindu culture diffused in Asia through a Rama story and a role of an epic. Most countries that welcomed the Rama story have adapted it to their own culture. In this process of adaptation, not only has the story been transformed, but its very origin has been forgotten. In many countries, the story has been given a local setting; the Indian names are used for important towns, sites, monuments, rivers and lakes. The characters and the episodes are nationalized in the borrowing countries, identification of their origin being effaced. This is true for Java, Malaya, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. In China and Tibet alone, the story remains identified with India. Lec. 23 (?) (28-3-2013) Conservation and Restoration of Ta Promh and Angkor Wat – Gautam Sengupta (?)


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Studies evaluate Viagra risk for optic neuropathy Howard D Pomeranz Rachel E Sobel only two (five per cent) patients recovered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida vision.The vision outcome was unknown inthe remaining two (five per cent) men. A REVIEW of reports of optic neuropathy "Reports of optic neuropathy in men occurring in men being treated for erectile