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Volume 32 – Number 4

Apr 2001

 


The Art of Burma
Interview with Liu Guosong


Cover: Court dress
Burmese, mid-19th century
Victoria and Albert Museum, IM 45 E1912


Due to the country's self-imposed isolation in the post-colonial period, the art of Burma has been largely overlooked by recent scholarship. With encouraging signs that the ruling generals are considering a more liberal course by releasing political prisoners and entering into a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the democratic movement, the articles in this issue are a timely recognition of Burma’s artistic achievements.

Pamela Gutman examines the origin and impact of external cultural influences on the art and architecture of Arakan. Robert L. Brown discusses the significant of intermarriage and female dress codes in the courts of inland principalities in Southeast Asia. To interpret Burmese art of the modern era, Donald M. Stadtner explores the mix of diverse cultural currents in Burma during the 18th and 19th centuries. Myo Thant Tyn and Dawn F. Rooney’s appraisal of recently discovered 14th and 16th century celadons indicates that Burma played an active part in the celebrated ceramic tradition of Southeast Asia.

In 1989 the military government of Burma changed the name of the country to Myanmar. However, for political and cultural reasons, the former is favoured by the country’s democracy movement, and as Burma is the name more universally acknowledged, we have retained its use in all but one of the articles.

This month’s interview features Taiwan-based Liu Guosong, who creates a harmony of past and present, East and West in his abstract landscapes.

 
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