Eclectic Collecting: Art from Burma in the Denison Museum

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Edited by Alexandra Green

The collection of Burmese art housed at the Denison Museum in Granville, Ohio, USA, includes more than 1,500 objects dating from the late first millennium AD through the twentieth century. While particularly strong on textiles originating with minority groups in Burma, it also showcases Buddha images, lacquer objects, works on paper, manuscripts, wood carvings, and pieces made from bronze, silver, and ivory. The core holdings were acquired by Baptist missionaries, United States government employees, diplomats, and others living in Burma, and this material has been augmented by judicious purchases.

Eclectic Collecting is both a catalogue of the collection and a scholarly examination of Burmese art. It examines the production and use of textiles by the Karenic, Chin, Kachin, Lahu, Tai, and Wa minority groups, as well as ethnic Burmans, within the context of their histories and cultures. Vibrant photographs illustrate the distinctive designs characteristic of each population group and the production techniques they use.

The volume also features lacquerware and Buddha images, including a fascinating discussion of the distinctive techniques used by lacquer producers in Burma, and a lucid exposition of how the Buddha images in the collection reflect contemporary political, social, and religious trends and requirements.

"Some four dozens of its 265 illustrations depict explicitly Buddhist themes, and readers already interested in Buddhist art will find the selection of rarely published Buddhist images quite distinctive and stylistically intriguing. A most welcome glossary and two useful maps enhance the utility of the volume's superb photography and very instructive and readable text." - John Renard

Alexandra GREEN is Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Publication Year: 2008
256 pages, 275mm x 215mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-404-3, Hardback

NUS Press