Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Books on Asian Art

Here are a selection of recent books from our Asian Art collection:
  • Burmese Painting: A Linear And Lateral History by Andrew Ranard. This is the first comprehensive history of Burmese painting, from eleventh-century Pagan to the present, including over 175 painters and more than 300 photographs of work. The book explores the historical transformations of the art, with psychological interpretations of major artists, the legends which followed them, and analysis of their oeuvres. It also probes the unusual lateral dimensions of Burmese painting, where 1,000 years of tradition have continued to survive and shape a rich corpus of largely unknown work. Ranard links the traditional roots of Burmese painting in India with later influences from China, Thailand, Britain, Northern Europe, and America. Burma is an isolated country, but its art has been a major wellspring of inspiration in Southeast Asia. Today, the country struggles to reconcile complex pressures, and Ranard digs deeply to uncover layers of conflict reflected in Burmese painting.
  • Chinese Posters: The Iish-Landsberger Collections by Stefan Landsberger and Marien Van Der Heijden. Opening with a brief introduction to the history of graphic arts propaganda in China, this volume presents the posters chronologically, illustrating the change in subject matter following seismic changes in China's history and development. These posters are a valuable record of China's challenges and fears as well as a reflection of its cultural mores, and are a legitimate and fascinating aspect of China's artistic history. Stephan Landsberger has a website dedicated to these posters that is well-worth a visit.
  • Land Of The Morning: The Philippines And Its People by David Henkel. The Philippines has been at the confluence of diverse cultural influences, including early Austronesian migrants, Chinese traders, Hindu-Buddhist and Muslim Southeast Asians, as well as Spanish colonisers and the Roman Catholic Church. The interaction of these influences has produced styles of art and architecture which are unique in Southeast Asia and have profoundly affected the development of Filipino culture and identity. This publication coincides with the exhibition Land of the Morning: the Philippines and its People, held at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM). The diverse material culture of the Philippines is explored, from ancient gold, and Catholic sculpture to tribal textiles and costumes and contemporary art. This publication features nearly 300 objects, both from the ACM's own collection as well as from the Ayala Museum, the National Museum of the Philippines, the Central Bank of the Philippines and private lenders in Manila and Singapore. This is the first time that this superb group of objects, including a number of important national treasures, has ever been seen together, making this publication an important document on Filipino culture.
  • Thai Mural Painting Vol. 1: Iconography, Analysis & Guide by Gerhard Jaiser. This is the first comprehensive survey of all aspects of Thai mural painting. It includes short versions of the most important Buddhist stories exclusively illustrated by depictions from temple murals. The historical overview includes all regions and periods, based on materials from nearly 200 temples. Also included are interpretations of the concepts of nine selected temples and a full list of the temples visited. With colour and black-and-white photographs, notes, glossary and references. There was a Bangkok Post article on the author and Thai mural paintings.

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