TEMASEK HISTORY RESEARCH CENTRE
ARCHAEOLOGY AND ART HISTORY OF SOUTHEAST ASIA PROGRAMME WEBINAR
About the Webinar
What is relief sculpture and where may we find them? Using examples from our rich Southeast Asian past up until the arrival of Islam, this lecture presents an overview of the characteristics that distinguish reliefs from other types of art, and the role that the natural and built environments play in the production and appreciation of reliefs. Techniques of relief-making will also be identified, and, while most artistic output can be described as decorative, different types of reliefs serve different purposes. But more than just ornamental or functional, reliefs can also be extremely informative. Some of the ways historians and archaeologists employ the study of reliefs to gain new knowledge will be explored, especially useful with cultures that have oral traditions or whose writings were not made on permanent remains.
Organic materials such as textile and wood are vulnerable and do not survive well in the tropical climate of Southeast Asia. Are some evidence available from the early historical period? Despite the dearth of actual textiles remain, imprints of textiles can be found on sculptures and temple reliefs; many of them can be linked to materials preserved outside Southeast Asia. This lecture will provide an overview of the ancient maritime trade routes that were responsible for the circulation of these textiles. It will explore some visual evidence on sculptures that provide clues to the style of dress and patterns popular in different periods. Finally, this lecture will discuss the role of textiles in Southeast Asia as political currency and cultural identity.
About the Speakers
Natalie S.Y. Ong (PhD, National University of Singapore) is a researcher for the Preservation of Monuments Board, National Heritage Board.
Sandra Sardjono (PhD Berkeley, California) is Founder and President of the Tracing Patterns Foundation.