Meeting : "The Bronze Drums of Southeast Asia”.
Tuesday, 12 December, 2017.
A Talk by Jacques de Guerny.
Bronze Age produced revolutionary innovations. Among them, bronze
drums, stronger and more sonorous than their wooden and skin
predecessors, bestowing on their owners a prestige even in their tombs,
and creating new rites. On the drumhead and the cylindrical base, the
drums were engraved with decorations, open to interpretation but always
admirable, such as iconic frogs to control the rain. In so doing, man
gave a new mission to drums, not only to emit sounds, but also to evoke
everyday life or values, considered crucial, from the steppes to the
tropics of South East Asia.
odyssey of bronze drums spans two thousand five hundred years to the
present day. Their rituals have affected vast number of peoples and
territories, from China and Vietnam to Indonesia, including all
Indochina, and Thailand, particularly. From simple pots to marvelous
masterpieces, the bronze drums testify to animist cultures thanks to a
perennial metal at the crossroad of spiritual and commercial values.
Bronze drums are part of the treasures of humanity, housed within the
biggest museums. After travelling three years
throughout the area
himself, Jacques de Guerny presents them with images taken from his
recent book, Les tambours de bronze de l’Asie du sud-est - ed.
Maisonneuve et Larose / Hémisphères– Paris 2017.
de Guerny is, by training, an economist. Before his retirement he was
the Executive Director of a large French group and was, simultaneously,
an Associate Professor at H.E.C. (Paris) for 25 years. Author of
several books on economics, he has more recently taught at various
universities in Asia. Having developed a deep interest in Asian
culture, Jacques de Guerny is a member of the Asian Society [Institut
de France - Paris]. In a previous book, he dealt with the history of
the Buddhapada, footprints of the Buddha, works of art from India to
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