The collection of Burmese art housed at the Denison Museum in Granville, Ohio, includes more than 1,500 objects dating from the late first millennium A.D., through the twentieth century. While particularly strong on textiles originating with minority groups in Burma, it also includes Buddha images, lacquer objects, works on paper, manuscripts, wood carvings, and pieces made from bronze, silver, and ivory. The core holdings were acquired by Baptist missionaries, United States government employees, diplomats, and others living in Burma, and this material was augmented by judicious purchases.
This catalog of the Denison Museum collection discusses theoretical approaches to the study of textiles and examines in some depth the production and use of textiles by the Karenic, Chin, Kachin, Lahu, and Tai, and Wa minority groups, as well as ethnic Burmans, within the context of their histories and cultures. Vibrant photographs illustrate the distinctive designs characteristic of each population group and the production techniques they use.
The volume also examines lacquerware and Buddha images. In decorating their wares, lacquer producers in Burma use a number of distinctive techniques that are different from those found in East Asia. The Denison collection contains both household and votive objects originating from the major regional lacquer centers in the country, and the techniques and decorations unique to these centers are explained in fascinating detail. A chapter on Buddha images provides a lucid exposition of how the examples in the collection reflect contemporary political, social, and religion trends and requirements.
Contributors: Susan Conway, Sandra Dudley, Barbara G. Fraser, Sylvia Fraser-Lu, Alexandra Green, Teena Jennings-Rentenaar, Lisa Morrisette, Mandy Sadan.