Showing posts with label Cultural heritage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cultural heritage. Show all posts

Sunday, 27 January 2019

#Myanmar (Burma) - Bagan ready for heritage listing experts

The Department of Archaeology and National Museums is ready to answer questions on the Bagan heritage area from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), says the department’s director.

Richard Mackay, an expert from the council, conducted a survey last September for a report that will be submitted to UNESCO regarding Myanmar’s application to list the ancient city as a World Heritage Site.

“We are preparing to answer the questions of the ICOMOS expert, who wants more information before submitting a final report to UNESCO in March,” department director U Aung Aung Kyaw said. 

He did not say what questions would be asked.

U Thu Ya Aung, secretary of the Myanmar Archaeology Association, said there are three possible outcomes to the listing application process.

“One is Bagan is added to the World Heritage List; two is that listing is deferred as in 1994, when UNESCO requested that stronger laws and a management plan be created to protect Bagan; and three is that the application is denied.

“At present, the management of the Bagan heritage area prioritises development over protection. The authorities are still allowing new hotel projects and roads in the heritage zone, even though there is enough space outside the zone,” U Thu Ya Aung said.
To reduce traffic within the ancient city last year, the regional authorities re-opened Tharabar Gate, the last wall from the Bagan era. The increasing number of vehicles using the route is worrying to experts.

“Even though Tharabar Gate has a security team, some domestic travellers are climbing up its wall. The traffic and crowds of people are threatening the long-term sustainability of the gate,” U Thu Ya Aung said.

Recently some Bagan and Nyaung-U residents protested to call for more information about the proposed cultural heritage law.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture is amending the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Regions Law, which has passed the Amyotha Hluttaw (Upper House) and Attorney General’s Office and will be tabled in the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House).

“The new law proposes that people not be allowed to do any renovation, even for building a fence in the heritage zone, without obtaining permission from the Department of Archaeology.

 We want regulations to be more flexible for residents of the heritage zone,” Daw Khin Moh Mon Aung, a resident of New Bagan, said.

Source - MMTimes

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

#Cambodia - Museum in Preah Vihear ready to open after 10 years preparing

A new museum near Preah Vihear temple will be inaugurated on Tuesday, 10 years after the project began. The Samdech Techo Hun Sen Eco-Global Museum consists of 11 buildings on a 177-hectare plot of land in Choam Ksan district. It will present artefacts from the nearby temple and related heritage sites, as well as exhibitions on local culture, flora and fauna. 

“The purpose of creating this museum during the war time with the neighbouring country is to show the world that Cambodia does not need war, we need only peace, to preserve the national heritage, to transfer knowledge from the past to the public and to educate the locals to love their national heritage and disseminate it to others,” said museum Director Som Piseth.

Unesco provided technical support for the project, with the finances partly supported by the Cambodian government, by funds from Prime Minister Hun Sen and from other donors. Piseth was unable to provide information about the project’s costs. 
 Cambodian Buddhist monks walk at Preah Vihear temple, near the Thai border in Preah Vihear province, on July 21, 2008. A new museum was set to open near the temple on Tuesday.
 Among the challenges in building the museum was the ongoing border conflict with Thailand until the end of 2013, a lack of equipment and workers, and the remoteness of the museum, he said. 

The museum is distinct from others not only in terms of its size but also in what it will show, with objects on display ranging from ancient artefacts to information about a variety of heritage locations in Cambodia, and even exhibits on neighbouring countries. It will also focus on local indigenous cultures, especially the Kuy ethnic group – including their role during the Angkorian era as elephant breeders and as armourers. 

“It is really a museum which is showing the cultural diversity of Cambodia,” Unesco representative Anne Lemaistre said. “It is the first ethnographic museum in Cambodia.”
Its variety is part of the attraction, Piseth said, with its focus not on “one specific theme or topic”. 

“We do not only focus on showing the archaeological collections but we also show the history of other world heritage countries such as Laos, Vietnam, the culture and the livelihoods of indigenous people, as well as the flora and fauna in the area,” he said.
 Source - PhnomPenhPost

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Stonehenge road tunnel gets go-ahead despite protests.

Years of protests from druids and archaeologists have failed to derail plans for a new road tunnel near Britain's Stone Age site of Stonehenge, which received final approval from the government on Tuesday.

The 1.8-mile (2.9-kilometer) tunnel is planned to reduce frequent congestion on a major east-west road axis across England and has a budget of £1.6 billion (US$2.1 billion).
Officials have moved the planned route away from the UNESCO World Heritage site in response to criticism.

But Stonehenge Alliance, a group of non-governmental organisations, said it would cause "severe and permanent damage to the archaeological landscape".

"The project needs a complete re-think, not a minor tweak which still threatens major harm to this iconic landscape," said Kate Fielden from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, a member of the alliance.

Conservation groups English Heritage and the National Trust gave their approval to the plan, however.

"We welcome the amended route and believe it can, if designed and located with the utmost care, deliver a lasting legacy for the World Heritage Site and restore peace and tranquility to the Stonehenge landscape," the charities said in a statement.

 Transport Minister Chris Grayling said the new tunnel would provide "a huge boost for the region".

"Quicker journey times, reduced congestion and cleaner air will benefit people locally and unlock growth in the tourism industry," he said.

Stonehenge was built in stages, from around 3,000 BC to 2,300 BC.

Thousands of people gather at the mysterious circle of standing stones on Salisbury Plain for the pagan fest of the summer solstice every year.

It is one of the most impressive prehistoric megalithic monuments anywhere due to its size, sophisticated plan and architectural precision.

Archaeologists have identified similar prehistoric monuments in the area, including another buried circle of stones measuring 500 meters (yards) across.

Source - TheJakartaPost

Friday, 10 March 2017

Cambodia - The Monkey God’s last dance: Bidding a Lakhon Khol master farewell

After the troupe of young boys had performed the Monkey Dance, and a group of Apsara dancers had left the stage, 67-year-old Royal University of Fine Arts professor Proeung Chhieng stepped up, shoulders hunched, to the microphone to address the several hundred mourners. Behind him, at the top of an elaborate funeral pyre set up in a field at the Secondary School of Fine Arts, was the body of his friend and teacher, Yit Sarin, who passed away at 91 on Saturday night. 
“Today, at his funeral, I am so sad to lose someone so valuable for the country,” Chhieng told Post Weekend at the funeral on Monday. “However, I am also happy to see his students, for whom he devoted great effort in teaching, at his funeral … We are preparing to carry on his legacy and complete his unfinished mission.”
Born on July 1, 1925, Sarin is renowned for being the first male dancer in Cambodia’s Royal Ballet and was the last surviving custodian of the knowledge, history and practice of the Khmer masked theatre dance known as Lakhon Khol. With his death, many fear an irreplaceable loss to the Kingdom’s cultural heritage. 
Practitioners of the masked dance, relatives, and Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phuong Sakonga paid their respects at the funeral service, but the overwhelming majority of those present were students at the Secondary School of Fine Arts, where Yit Sarin’s cremation was held. 
All recalled Yit Sarin as a uniquely powerful teacher, dedicated to preserving and passing on the knowledge of Lakhon Khol.
“To be honest, we could not afford such a big funeral, but his students, who adore him, have put together the money to make it happen,” his 62-year-old daughter Kao Amry told Post Weekend
“He was both a family man and a great artist,” said cousin Sith Sothea, 50.
Sothea’s orphaned father was raised by Yit Sarin during the post independence Sangkum period, she said, and after the Pol Pot regime, when Sothea and her brother were orphaned, Yit Sarin took them in as well. “He adored his family and relatives, as much as he adored Lakhon Khol.”
His only surviving son, 19-year-old Sarin Vathanak, recalled the utter devotion his father had for passing on the knowledge of the art form, even at the end of his life.
“My father had taught Lakhon Khol all his life until he was bedridden in 2015,” he said, weak from emotion. “I am grief-stricken to lose my father, but also proud of him.”
Grandpa White
Born “Keo Sar”, Sarin changed his name during the Khmer Rouge regime, although he later became known simply as Lok Ta Sar (Grandpa White) – a nod to his signature role: the Hindu deity Hanuman, who is represented as a white monkey.
The dramatic pre-Angkorian dance form involves masked characters performing episodes of the Reamker – the Khmer version of the Hindu epic Ramayana – while a director, speaking and singing in three distinct “voices”, narrates the play over music.
According to Professor Aok Bunthoeun, vice dean of the Faculty of Choreographic Arts at the Royal University of Fine Arts, the theatre was practiced in palaces and pagodas for centuries, but only by one gender. 

“In the Royal Palace, it was said that officials would be jealous if male dancers were next to female dancers, so the male dancers of Lakhon Khol were relegated to pagodas,” he said. 
 But this all changed in 1940 when Queen Sisowath Kossamak called Yit Sarin and three other boys from the Wat Svay Andet pagoda in Kandal to perform the Monkey Dance for three days at the Royal Palace. Delighted with the performance, she put the four under the tutelage of Royal Ballet master Mam Yan. However, all but Yit Sarin grew homesick and left the palace. 
From that “revolutionary” moment, Bunthoeun said, the Royal Ballet became the first Lakhon Khol troupe with both men and women on stage, although the roles of men would be limited to monkey characters and “the hermit” in the Reamker. 
Beyond establishing himself as a master of the art, teaching subsequent generations of dancers, Yit Sarin served as King Norodom Sihanouk’s personal assistant (or his Moha Tlik) during his quest for independence, for which he received several Royal Honours.