Beautifully illustrated, The Arts of Southeast Asia from the SOAS Collections highlights a variety of material relating to Southeast Asia drawn from the rich collections of SOAS University of London. With a wide chronological span, they are diverse in nature, comprising manuscripts (written on bark, palm leaves, copper sheets and paper), textiles, sculptures, metalwork and paintings, and reﬂect the variety of religions, cultures and languages to be found across this vast area.
The objects come from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and range in date from circa 1000 BCE to the present day. Most are functional, being made for religious, ceremonial or practical purposes, and particular meanings adhere to their various shapes, gestures and motifs. In contrast to the renowned stone and brick temples of Angkor and Pagan, much of Southeast Asian art is made from perishable materials such as wood, leaves and cloth to which the hot and humid climate of the region is hostile.
With a population of 600 million people inhabiting an area of over four million square kilometres, the culturally and linguistically diverse peoples of Southeast Asia have drawn upon the resources of its many ecological zones to create a wide range of artefacts in a striking variety of styles. Their arts continue to embody local traditions, but have also been enriched by external contacts.
This book is ideal for both the general public and specialists seeking to further explore the arts, languages and cultures of this dynamic and fascinating region.