A YEAR’S publications of Arts of Asia, our readers tell me, passes far too quickly for them. For myself, since 1970, founder and publisher of this long established Asian art magazine, the first of its particular kind, there also is never enough time. In the past year, since my Online Editorial of March-April 1997 to March-April 1998, we have published numerous articles on new subjects, hardly, if ever, touched upon before. I list the main ones for each issue here with the appropriate months, before covering the actual issues more as a whole:
Thogchags: Talismans of Tibet
Archaeological Treasures from the Silk Road
Devil Dance Masks of Sri Lanka
Ritual and Myth in Sumbanese Textiles
Old Champa Kiln Sites and Wares
Lamqua, Western and Chinese Painter
Incidentally, it will be noted that the Publisher’s Online Editorial commences with the March-April issue, following the Chinese rather than the Western New Year which in 1999, falls on February 16th.
The March-April 1998 issue, which was mentioned as coming at the end of my previous Online Editorial, met with outstanding success when published with our readers and was well received by the British Museum as well. Already it is much sought-after as a back issue. In addition to articles by the Keeper of the The Department of Oriental Antiquities, Robert Knox, and associated curators, it includes a review of the Sacred Art of Tibet Exhibition held at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall in Taipei, and an equal length one of The Religious Imagery of Khajuraho, a limited edition book by Devangana Desai, published by Franco-Indian-Research Pvt. Ltd (Project for Indian Cultural Studies, Publication IV).
With May-June 1998, we took our well-travelled readers to the mysteries of Tibet, with the most comprehensive pictorial coverage ever on the subject of Thogchags provided by John G. Bellezza, an American scholar specialising in the indigenous religious sculpture of Western Tibet and the Himalayas. Equally seen for the first time are the canoe bow decorations of Northern Irian Jaya, Indonesia, written by Professor Michael C. Howard, a Canadian anthropologist who has worked as adviser to the Department of Anthropology at Irian Jaya’s Cenderawasih University.
July-August for 1998 was our annual special Japanese issue3 with cover article on 1890-1940 lacquer art, and illustrations from a variety of sources, including most notably the Baur in Geneva. The author, Jan Dees, a specialist doctor, has made lacquer his particular passion, though this essentially late period, dating generally from the late 19th/early 20th century, has in the main been overlooked by others. It is a period for Japanese lacquer which is especially well represented in the Baur Collection.
Sir Hugh Cortazzi, a distinguished regular contributor to our Japanese issues, writes with their cooperation about two relatively little known Osaka Museums: The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, and The Osaka Namban Bunkakan Osaka Museum of “Southern Barbarian” Art.
Amongst non-Japanese subjects, included in the July-August magazine, I can recommend “Archaeological Treasures from the Silk Road in Xinjiang”, written by associate curator, Zhou Yanqun, of the Shanghai Museum.