Category Archives: Southeast Asia

17 of Southeast Asia’s most photogenic temples

Brave New Traveler
25 Jnune 2014

Wat Pho (Bangkok, Thailand) A Buddhist temple in the Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok, Wat Pho is home to the reclining Buddha (49.2 feet in height and 141 feet in length). The temple, additionally known as Thailand’s first public university, is often considered the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. (via)

To view more, follow the [link].

Photo collection: Songkran Festival 2014 at Wat Greensboro [US]

A somewhat large collection of photos from this event is available on the blog, Buddhism Inter.  To view them, follow the [link].


Exhibit review: Gathering of Gods From Places Long Forgotten

NY Times
APRIL 10, 2014

‘Lost Kingdoms’ / CreditSuzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art gives its all to an exhibition in terms of space, money and scholarship, and the art involved is as rich as a massed chorale and as haunting as a single-voice chant, no institution on earth can produce more impressive results. Such is the case with “Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century,” which opens on Monday.

It’s a show about faith, or faiths, that may initially need to be taken on faith by Met visitors for whom religious art from Southeast Asia is an unknown quantity. So let me offer a few belief-building facts: Most of its 160 sculptures, monumental and minute, are national treasures in an unprecedented transmigration from Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Myanmar, formerly Burma, whose antiquities have never traveled, signed a first-ever international loan agreement for the occasion and sent a king’s ransom in material.

For a slideshow of exhibit items, follow the link at the end of the article.  

Continue reading

Video: Ancient Sculptures from Myanmar on Display in New York

08 April 2014

For the first time ever, ancient sculptures from Myanmar are on display outside of the once-repressed country. The art is part of an exhibition called “Lost Kingdoms” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Rare and ancient artifacts from Myanmar will appear outside of the once-repressed country for the first time ever. The priceless religious sculptures were loaned to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The artifacts will appear in a new exhibition called “Lost Kingdoms” Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century”.

“We were very honored that the minister for culture and the government of Myanmar consented to our request to borrow some enormously important objects, first millennium objects, belonging to the Pyu, early Pyu culture of central Myanmar and we presented those here for the first time,” said John Guy, the Curator for South and Southeast Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York during a media preview on Monday.

Until 2012, Myanmar had been closed off to the West. The small country is in the process of political and economic transition after 49 years of military rule.

Among the ancient sculptures on display are a 4th century sandstone throne stele from central Myanmar. The throne stele is an example of the various religions respected in ancient Myanmar.

“This sculpture you are looking at beyond my shoulder is arguably the oldest sculpture in the exhibition. It probably dates to around the 4th century AD and it bears witness to the practice of both Hinduism and Buddhism, one treated on each side of the relief, in the ancient city of Sri Ksetra. We know that kings, the ruling household there, had assumed Sanskrit names and that those names suggest that they were followers of Vishnu. But it’s also clear that they patronized Buddhism as well. So both things were coexisting in what appears to be a harmonious way. They were not mutually exclusive,” explained Guy.

Also on display is a Khin Ba Relic Chamber Cover from 6th century central Myanmar. The sandstone slab is an example of the ancient Pyu’s Buddhist beliefs.

Three fired clay Buddha sculptures, ranging from the 7th to 9th centuries, reveal how Buddhists could accrue religious favor.

In addition to the sculptures from Myanmar, the exhibition also features Buddha sculptures from Thailand and Vishnu sculptures from Vietnam. Art from Cambodia and Malaysia is also on display.

The “Lost Kingdoms” exhibition will be on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from April 14 until July 27, 2014.


Los Angeles: The 8th-Annual Distinguished Lecture on South and Southeast Asian Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Sunday, April 13, 2014

Robert Linrothe, specialist in Buddhist art of the Himalayas, examines the artistic grandeur of the Sumstek shrine in present-day northern India in his talk titled “The Three-Story ‘Heap of Jewels’: A Buddhist Shrine at Alchi in the Western Himalayas.” A site famous for its architecture, sculpture, and painting it is one of the surviving wonders of the Himalayan world.

The Tibetan name of this shrine (gsum brtsegs rin chen brtsegs pa) refers to a metaphorical “heap of jewels” in the sense of portraying the Tibetan Buddhist understanding of valuable truths. But in another sense, the name is also literally true:  some of the pigments of the wall paintings were ground precious stones and metals such as azurite and gold. All four interior walls, and three over-life-size sculptures are covered with miniature paintings, as if the artists were trained manuscript illuminators tasked with making murals.

Despite the importance of this site as a benchmark in the history of Himalayan art, its date is still controversial. Professor Linrothe discusses the attribution of the bulk of the painting to Kashmiri-trained artists, examines what is at stake in the dating controversy, and assesses the evidence on both sides of the question.

Robert Linrothe is an associate professor of art history at Northwestern University. From 2002 to 2004 he served as the inaugural curator of Himalayan Art at the Rubin Museum in New York. In 2008 he was a scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute.

LACMA, Brown Auditorium
Free and open to the public

Sponsored by the Southern Asian Art Council


NY Exhibit: Lost Kingdoms of Early Southeast Asia: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century, 14 April – 27 July 2014
03 Feb 2014

 Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, Fifth to Eighth Century

Buddha (detail). Central Thailand, 1st half 7th century. Sandstone. H. 67 3/8 in. Lent by the National Museum, Bangkok, Thailand

A ground-breaking international loan exhibition devoted to the Hindu-Buddhist art of first- millennium Southeast Asia will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning April 14. Some 160 sculptures will be featured, many of them large-scale stone sculptures and bronzes. They include a significant number of designated national treasures lent by the governments of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar, as well as stellar loans from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia will explore the sculptural traditions of the Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms from the early 5th to the close of the 8th century in mainland and insular Southeast Asia. This landmark exhibition will be the first to present the religious art produced by a series of newly emerged kingdoms in the region, laying the foundations for the political map of Southeast Asia today. Continue reading

LACMA releases new online catalogue of Southeast Asian art
24 Nov 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced the publication of Southeast Asian Art (, a new website featuring in-depth scholarship authored by professor and curator Dr. Robert Brown.

The online publication focuses on 34 highlights from the museum’s extraordinary collection of Southeast Asian art (complemented by numerous comparative images) and includes extended essays on topics such as light symbolism, female deities, and the impact of Buddhism on Sri Lankan and Southeast Asian art.

Southeast Asian Art is the first in a series of online scholarly catalogues designed to provide an in-depth, web-based reading experience previously available only in print publications, enhanced with unique rich media features such as videos, 360-degree image rotation for select objects, and an easy online citation tool. The project is intended to share museum-generated scholarship with the broadest possible audience and enable both students and advanced researchers of Southeast Asian art to use newly developed online research tools. Continue reading