Arts and Culture
The papers on this panel draw attention to the transmission of images and manuscripts crossing Central, East and Southeast Asia, including medieval China, Japan and Java from the 8th to 12th century. This was a period when trade and tribute activities provided the path for the exchange and spread of material cultures. The adaption and localisation of the images and manuscripts, which reflect the convergence of ideologies between different cultural and political entities, have left traces in the remains of visual and material culture evidence.
The four representative papers study the process of cultural transmission, adaption and localisation of images and manuscripts through detailed analysis: Sandra Sardjono studies the pearl roundel pattern carved on the 8th century Candi Sewu in Central Java, not only traces its prototypes through the archaeological materials from China and Central Asia and also its evolution in later Javanese stone and metal figures. This study further examines the process of localisation of the pattern on traditional Indonesian textiles. TU Chiao-Hui reveals the cross-cultural interaction between the Javanese kingdoms and the medieval China (Tang and Song dynasty) during 8th - 12th centuries. By providing a comparative visual analysis of the Javanese nāga and Chinese dragon motifs in material remains and historical records, the ideology behind the adaption of the Chinese dragon motif in Java will be better understood. LIN Chun-I explores the formulation, transmission and hybridisation of the phoenix-type motifs across the Eurasia Steppe from the 8th to 12th century, and further investigates how they combined with other decorative motifs and their various meanings in different contexts. XU Duo explores the process of the copying of music manuscripts by comparing the musical symbols found in three 9th – 10th century Dunhuang musical manuscripts with the music scores, such as the Tenbyō Biwa score, that has been preserved in Japan. The function of the music manuscripts of Tang China and contemporaneous Japan will also be studied and emphasized. Each research contributes to an understanding of how cultures generate new forms and forge new connections with one another.