Old Javanese Gold

with John Miksic

7pm, Thursday, 5 May 2011
82 Cairnhill Road, Singapore

Gold jewellery is usually assumed to be a decorative art rather than a source of historical information. In Java, an unusually large quantity of ancient gold has been recovered. Some of it comes from prehistoric burials. The largest quantity comes from hoards hidden during the 8th and 9th centuries in the Borobudur area. Some pieces from the Majapahit era, just before the coming of Islam, have also been found. This talk presented three gold objects, one from each era, to show how gold fit into the culture of ancient Java.

About the Speaker:
Dr John Miksic served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia from 1968 to 1972. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University with a dissertation on Archaeology, Trade, and Society in Northeast Sumatra. He lived in Bengkulu for two years, in Yogyakarta for 6 years, and has lived in Singapore since 1987. He first taught in the Department of History, National University of Singapore, and in 1991 helped found the Southeast Asian Studies Programme, where he is Associate Professor. He has organized archaeological excavations and museum exhibitions in Southeast Asia. In his spare time, he translates scholarly articles into English from Indonesian, French and Dutch. In February 2009, he led the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society’s Study Tour to Central Java.