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For the past century and a half, extensive looting and illicit trafficking of Southeast Asia's cultural heritage have scattered art objects from the region to museums and private collections around the world. Today, however, power relations are shifting, a new awareness is growing, and new questions are emerging about the representation and ownership of Southeast Asian cultural material located in the West. This book offers a timely consideration of object restitution and related issues across Southeast Asia, bringing together a range of viewpoints, including those of museum professionals and scholars in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, as well as Europe, North America, and Australia. The contributors address legal, cultural, political and diplomatic issues involved in the restitution process, and they also look at the ways object restitution is integral to evolving narratives of national identity. Ultimately, the book’s editors conclude, restitution processes can transform narratives of loss into opportunities for gain, building knowledge and reconstructing relationships across national borders.
 

304 pages | 54 color plates | 7 1/4 x 9 1/4

Art and Archaeology of Southeast Asia: Hindu-Buddhist Traditions


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Reviews

“This anthology of essays by mostly Southeast Asian academics is a timely overview of the hot-button issue of repatriation and its many complications.”

The Straits Times

“Approaching historic inequality through the lens of material culture provides fascinating insight into the dynamics of visual art and power… Returning Southeast Asia’s Past: Objects, Museums and Restitution is an interesting, well-researched book which explores how museum collections reflect the colonial ideologies of the people who assembled them.”

Asian Review of Books

Table of Contents

List of figures
Foreword
Acknowledgements
1. Introduction: Collecting and Returning Southeast Asia’s Past
Part I: Artefact Ownership
2. The Selling of Khmer Artefacts during the Colonial Era: Questioning the Perception of Khmer Heritage through a Study of Traded Khmer Art Pieces (1920s–1940s)
3. The Looting of Koh Ker and the Return of the Prasat Chen Statues
4. Who Owns Ban Chiang? The Discovery, Collection and Repatriation of Ban Chiang Artefacts
Part II: Object Biographies and Colonial Legacies
5. On the Road Back to Mandalay: The Burmese Regalia – Seizure, Display and Return to Myanmar in 1964
6. Bridging the Missing Gaps: The Politics of Display at the Ð?ng Duong Buddhist Art Gallery
7. Restitution and National Heritage: (Art) Historical Trajectories of Raden Saleh’s Paintings
8. Returns by the Netherlands to Indonesia in the 2010s and the 1970s
Part III: Museums, Restitution, and Cultural Identities
9. The Return of Cultural Property and National Identity in Postcolonial Indonesia
10. Plaibat: Reclaiming Heritage, Social Media, and Modern Nationalism
11. Myanmar, Museums, and Repatriation of Cultural Heritage
Contributors
Index

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