Who “owns” the cultural treasures of Southeast Asia? Who should have direct, “in-person” access to them for study and aesthetic enjoyment and inspiration? How should museums—any museums, in any location—curate exhibitions involving such treasures? The minutely detailed case studies in the excellent edited collection Returning Southeast Asia’s Past: Objects, Museums, and Restitution document how power has worked in the “discovery” and subsequent accumulation and museum display of antiquities from Southeast Asia in the West. The contributors explore how economic trade in heritage objects intersects with political relations among nations and the agendas of elite museums worldwide. The chapters also consider how, following United Nations agreements that important heritage art should ideally be returned to the nations now occupying the areas that first produced the treasured objects, repatriation has actually worked in practice. Additionally, the authors trace how historical scholarship, anthropology and archaeology, and curatorial practice clarify these legally and ethically...
Review: Returning Southeast Asia’s Past: Objects, Museums, and Restitution, edited by Louise Tythacott and Panggah Ardiyansyah
Susan Rodgers; Review: Returning Southeast Asia’s Past: Objects, Museums, and Restitution, edited by Louise Tythacott and Panggah Ardiyansyah. Journal of Vietnamese Studies 1 May 2023; 18 (1-2): 226–228. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/vs.2023.18.1-2.226
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