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Materializing Southeast Asia's Past

Selected Papers from the 12th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists

Marijke J. Klokke and Veronique Degroot

Publication Year: 2013

Materializing Southeast Asia's Past contains articles in historical and anthropological archaeology, epigraphy, and art history. The interpretations of art and material culture provide new insights into the classical Hindu and Buddhist cultures of Southeast Asia and their relationship to the medieval cultures of South Asia. The volume contains 20 papers presented at the 12th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists (EurASEAA). Held in Leiden in 2008, the conference was jointly organized by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and Leiden University.

Published by: NUS Press Pte Ltd

Half title, full title, copyright pages

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pp. 1-4


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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-xiii

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pp. xiv-16

The great historical monuments that characterize Southeast Asia’s classical inland, rice producing polities, first attracted scholarly attention in the 19th century and remain a source of fascination. The parallels with Indian temple architecture and sculpture sometimes led to heated debates on the exact relationship between Southeast Asian and Indian culture. Archaeologists, epigraphists and art historians now view the complex process generally known as Indianization as a multidirectional process taking place in a shared cultural space that involves both globalizing and localizing tendencies. Besides the earlier focus on the monumental remains and sculptural art of Southeast...

Part 1: Art, Religion, and Politics: Buddhist Monuments in Java and Cambodia

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pp. 1-18

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Chapter 1: Borobudur: A Monument of Avataṃsaka Buddhism

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pp. 3-9

Since its rediscovery in the early 19th century, its re-emergence from the tropical forest, and its successful restoration, many different theories have been advanced to explain the unique characteristics of Borobudur. What most of these hypotheses have in common is that one of Borobudur’s greatest artistic achievements — its 1,460 narrative reliefs, stretching over a length of almost three kilometers — do not seem to have played a substantive role in most of these interpretations. As we ascend the monument from its base to the top, on each level making two or three clockwise circumambulations, the scriptures that have been illustrated in the reliefs are...

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Chapter 2: Art Historical Evidence for the Building Phases of Borobudur

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pp. 10-26

Borobudur is one of the largest monuments of Central Java and it may be assumed that it took a number of years to cut river boulders into stones, to transport these stones to the building site, to put the stones together, to make the 504 Buddha images and to carve the 1,460 narrative reliefs, thousands of other reliefs, and thousands of ornaments, like antefixes, garlands, monster heads (kālas), makaras, pilasters and spiral ornaments. John Miksic estimated that Borobudur could have been built in about 30 years by a work force of several hundred men working every day. Taking into account the seasonal fluctuation of work, he argued that possibly twice as much time...

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Chapter 3: Enshrouded in Dharma and Artha: The Narrative Sequence of Borobudur’s First Gallery Wall

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pp. 27-40

More than any other monument in Asia, Borobudur has enticed a plethora of scholars to advance myriad conceptualizations and configurations in an attempt to undercover its “hidden” meaning. For over a century it has been generally believed that the key to unlocking Borobudur’s mystery lies either in its architectonic components or in the discovery of particular Buddhist textual recensions that inspired the stories interpreted in stone. It is perhaps due to this enigma, deemed considerably more intriguing, that the assemblage of jātakas and avadānas brought to life on the four galleries of the monument has not received adequate scrutiny.1 Yet, any small piece of the puzzle, when put into its correct position, has the potential to resolve a perplexity in its entirety. When turning to the 120...

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Chapter 4: The Tantric Roots of the Buddhist Pantheon of Jayavarman VII

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pp. 41-55

The Buddhism of Jayavarman VII’s father, King Dharaṇīndravarman II, who probably built Beng Mealea temple outside Angkor and erected a large four-armed Avalokiteśvara icon (Fig. 4.1), may have been similar to many other cults of the great compassionate Bodhisattva that gained adherence from many Buddhist communities of South, Southeast and East Asia from the 10th century on. But Jayavarman’s A critical test of Jayavarman’s Buddhism lies in determining who is the deity whose giant faces loom ...

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Chapter 5: Buddhist Iconography in Brahmanical Temples of Angkor

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pp. 56-81

The religious history of Cambodia may be divided into a continuous development of Hinduism from the first centuries of the current era onwards on the one hand, and less coordinated, intermittent phases of Buddhism on the other. From Sanskrit inscriptions and Chinese records, it appears that Buddhism and Hinduism coexisted in Cambodia in the 4th and 5th centuries, the latter being predominantly Śaivism amongst the people and Vaiṣṇavism amongst the royalty (Bhattacharya 1997: 36). Two main forms of ...

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Chapter 6: A Study of Wooden Structures: A Contribution to the Architectural History of the Bayon Style Monuments

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pp. 82-108

Traces of structures, made of ephemeral material in Khmer monuments of the Angkorian period, especially those dated at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, are already well-known. Nevertheless, only a few studies have to date focused on this type of structure. This is easily explained: no remains of wooden structures have been collected on these monuments; only traces left on their mineral skeletons prove their past existence. Therefore it was logical to prioritize the stone remains of ...

Part 2: Southeast Asian Transformations: Cultural Exchange with South Asia

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pp. 109-126

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Chapter 7: Gold Sheet Images in a Local Javanese Style

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pp. 111-118

A large number of images of deities have survived from the Indonesian classical period. Several of their aspects are known. They are Hindu or Buddhist images that began to be produced when Hinduism and Buddhism were adopted from the Indian subcontinent. The period in which they were made coincides with the building period of Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries, from the 8th to 16th centuries. The models for the images were borrowed from several regions of the Indian subcontinent in various periods. From ...

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Chapter 8: The Inscription on an Embossed Image of Śiva in Gold Leaf from Central Java, Indonesia

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pp. 119-121

The contribution of Pauline Lunsingh Scheurleer discusses, among other works of art, an embossed gold leaf showing an image of Śiva engraved with one line of text on the right hand side of the deity (Fig. 8.1). When this splendid artefact first became known to scholars, it was in the hands of a collector in the town Bukateja in kabupaten Purbalingga, province Central Java. Its original findspot is unknown, but almost certainly lay somewhere in that province. The inscription, generally considered to have been composed in Old Malay, was first published by J.G....

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Chapter 9: Images of Sūrya from Mainland Southeast Asia

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pp. 122-133

Among the images of Brahmanical gods found in mainland Southeast Asia there is a certain number of sculptures showing the sun god normally called Sūrya or Āditya in Sanskrit literary sources.1 Many of these depictions are part of larger compositions or groups of deities such as the so-called navadevatās, but the earlier examples are large images probably meant to be worshipped in a temple or similar sacred place. This paper will investigate the iconographic developments that Sūrya images in Southeast Asia ...

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Chapter 10: Religious Syncretism in 11th-century Thaton: A Southeast Asian Transformation of Viṣṇu

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pp. 134-139

A series of sculptures from Thaton and neighboring sites in Lower Burma demonstrate Khmer and Late Dvaravati influence in Lower Burma which impacted on the nature of the religion practiced around the 11th century. Mon religion and the art of Thaton have an important influence on early Pagan. These include images of a standing, or walking, Buddha, Śiva and Umā and a number of Viṣṇu Anantaśāyin (Luce 1985, I: 176‒7; II: Pls 88, 99, 100; Gutman 1999, 2002, 2008)....

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Chapter 11: The Context of the West Mebon Viṣṇu

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pp. 140-155

The West Mebon Viṣṇu (Fig. 11.1) provides an almost unique opportunity to study a sculpture within the archaeological context of its discovery. The methodology I have used has been to re-examine this sculpture in its art-historical context and also the multifaceted archaeological and cultural landscape The reclining statue of Viṣṇu found in the West Mebon, a water shrine at Angkor in the middle of the Western Baray, is conventionally dated to the mid-11th century (Giteau 1976; Boisselier 1967; Jessup ...

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Chapter 12: The Cross-handed Gesture in Sri Lankan and Thai Art: A New Observation

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pp. 156-164

The most celebrated standing Buddha image at Gal Vihāra, dated to Polonnaruva period (11th‒12th century AD), bears the most problematic and controversy gesture in Buddhist iconography, the gesture of crossing hands on the chest (Fig. 12.1). As this gesture is not known in Indian Buddha images, the exact iconographical meaning of the gesture has engendered controversy among scholars.Some scholars identify this peculiar gesture as the gesture of sorrow. For example, S.M. Burrows ...

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Part 3: Technology: Workmanship inArt and Material Culture

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pp. 165-182

Techno-culTural PersPecTives on Medieval souTheasT asia and souThern india...

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Chapter 13: Techno-cultural Perspectives on Medieval Southeast Asia and Southern India: Pallava Bronzes and Beyond

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pp. 167-178

Techno-culTural PersPecTives on Medieval souTheasT asia and souThern indiait appears that maritime links between southern india and southeast asia may be traced back to at least the late first millennium Bc (Glover 1990, 1996). inscriptional evidence testifies to contacts in various ways such as trade and transmission while there is also some evidence from the art forms for exchange early sangam works datable to the late centuries Bc or early centuries ad such as Purananuru, ...

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Chapter 14: Khmer Ceramic Technology: A Case Study from Thnal Mrech Kiln Site, Phnom Kulen

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pp. 179-195

...University, conducted an archaeological excavation at the Thnal Mrech Kiln Site located on the Thnal Mrech dike, in the village of Anlong Thom, Phnom Kulen, approximately 35km northeast of Siem Reap in the famed Angkor region (Figs. 14.1 and 14.2). The zone, containing multiple kiln sites, including two main groups with more than 20 kilns on an ancient dike, is frequently...

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Chapter 15: The Creative Sculptural Process as Evidenced in the Rāmāyaṇa Reliefs of Candi Loro Jonggrang, Prambanan, Central Java

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pp. 196-204

Stella Kramrisch’s opinions, concerning the honoring of the genii who have largely remained secondary to their masterpieces, still remain relevant, more than half a century after she expressed them. Certainly, these lines refer specifically to the Indian craftsmen, about whom at least a little has been written in ancient texts. However, they can be applied more generally. The artisans of the bas-reliefs of the Loro Jonggrang temple complex in Prambanan, Central Java, deserve as much to be included in Kramrisch’s laudatory phrases. I t is in this light...

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Chapter 16: Decorative Lintels and Ateliers at Mahendraparvata and Hariharālaya

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pp. 205-218

From enormous temple complexes to the profusion of decorative detail on every available surface, the sheer diversity, creativeness and scale of the temples and art of Angkor is staggering. Yet the individuals who created these works, from architects to builders, carpenters, painters, tool fabricators, brick and ceramic manufacturers, and quarry laborers are almost entirely nameless. The makers of the world renowned edifices, who carved sculptures and the architectural ornamentation deserve to be acknowledged. This paper is part of a broader investigation that appraises the activities and work processes of Angkorian artists by considering...

Part 4: Southeast Asia Between Past and Present

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pp. 219-236

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Chapter 17: Funeral Scenes in the Rāmāyaṇa Mural Painting at the Emerald Buddha Temple

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pp. 221-232

Paintings of funeral scenes are rare in asian art. The most common theme associated with funerals in Thai art is the death scene of the Buddha referring to his parinirvāṇa. even though depictions of the actual funeral of the Buddha are generally scarce in both indian and southeast asian art, in Thai art the Buddha’s funeral became an important subject of Thai mural paintings and manuscripts around the 18th century.1 By around the second half of the 19th century, another type of funeral and cremation scene appeared in Thai ...

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Chapter 18: Jars in the Central Highlands of Mainland Southeast Asia

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pp. 233-241

Little attention has been paid to a tradition of jar acquisition, classification, use, and transmission in the mainland southeast asian central highlands. since the early 1900s, scholars have documented the use and connoisseurship of stoneware jars in the highlands of insular Southeast Asia (e.g. Cole 1912; o’connor 1983; adhyatman and ridho 1984; harrisson 1986; valdes, nguyen-long and Barbosa 1992). This paper, complementing the research done on the islands but focusing on the neglected mainland, is ...

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Chapter 19: Pagoda Desecration and Myanmar Archaeology, 1853–86

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pp. 242-252

A letter from J.S. Banks with the Governor General in India to Major Fraser on board the “Sulley” the as certain subsidiary questions connected with the Military occupation of rangoon hinge upon the decision that may be come to regarding the continued occupation of the ‘Shwe Dagon’ or great Pagoda as a fortified position, i am directed to convey to you the following observations by the Most noble the Governor 2. his lordship is of opinion that in every ground, political and military, the great pagoda ought to be ...

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Chapter 20: Fame and Fortune in Two Philippine Cemeteries:Tombstones as Extensions of Identity

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pp. 253-267

...cemeteries are viable sources of information on how personal and group identity, gender and sex, political power are represented and negotiated. scholars have discovered the potential of investigating present day cemeteries to elucidate questions about the past (Blackburn 2007; dakudao 1992; Francis et al. 2005; Mytum 2004; Parker Pearson 1982). in the Philippines, this area of research has not been explored from the perspective of archaeology until recently. This study is part of a larger research project on Philippine ...

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About the Authors

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pp. 268-270

Grace Barretto-Tesoro is an associate Professor of the archaeological studies Program, university of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. Her research interests include mortuary studies and identity. Chedha Tingsanchali has a Phd in history of art from the national Museum institute of history of art, conservation and Museology in new delhi, and is now assistant Professor in the department of Art History, Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University, Bangkok. He has specialized in Indian and ...


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pp. 271-289

E-ISBN-13: 9789971696801
Print-ISBN-13: 9789971696559

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: 239 images
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: New