The International Magazine of Arts and Antiques of Southeast Asia
Volume 1, Issue 5, November-December 2020.
Talismans and amulets made of Burmese gemstones can be divided into four categories: animalshaped, human-shaped, breastplates or pectorals, and finally beads. The latter two categories can also be used as jewellery.
Through an excellent study by the Hungarian gemmologist Dr. József Takács, you can become acquainted with the various types of Burmese gemstone, the techniques and tools used in gemstone cutting and processing, which have been used in Burma for thousands of years.
Some wonderful material from the Burmese-American archaeologist and gemmologist Terence Tan gives a detailed overview of the historical development of Burmese gemstone talismans and amulets, and the art and culture of the Samon Valley and Pyu.
Finally, to complete the illustration properly, you can acquaint yourself with the world’s largest collection on the subject, the result of decades of conscientious acquisition. The collection is located in Switzerland and has been published in four scholarly texts. Enjoy this extraordinary, precious piece of time travel!
Dr. István Zelnik
Editor, President of the Editorial Board
The Journey through Beads
from Prehistory to the Pyu States in Myanmar
by Terence Tan
From the Transition Period (The Bronze-Iron Age – circa 700 BC-200 BC) to the Iron Age (circa 400 BC-200 AD)
Gemstone Animal Talismans
by Dr. Susan Conway
This article features animal talismans from the collection of the Zelnik István Southeast Asian Gold Museum in Budapest.
They originate from Upper, Middle and Lower Myanmar (Burma) and are dated to the BronzeIron Transition Age (900 to 200 BCE) and to the Pyu Era (200 to 1000 CE) when Buddhist culture flourished in the Irrawaddy River basin. Talismans imbued with magical properties are a feature of all belief systems. 1 They are displayed openly and activated during rituals or kept secret, hidden from public gaze.
Gemstone Objects from Burma
Gemmological test and Investigation of Production Technology
by Dr. József TakácsIn the past year, we have examined a thousand or so Burmese gemstone objects at the Department of Mineralogy of the Eötvös Loránd University and at the Hungarian Southeast Asian Research Institute.
Our objectives were to:
– Identify the materials used
– Establish the techniques used in their production
– Determine whether they are authentic, ancient pieces
– Identify fakes, copies and objects that have been repaired
– Determine whether the objects have undergone any modifi cation in modern times
– Describe and document the information obtained about the objects (several thousand micrographs were taken in order to document our work)
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Volume 1. Issue 5. The Art of Gemstone Beads in Myanmar
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