Southeast Asian Ceramics - New Light on Old Pottery


Text by John Miksic and Michael Flecker and Pamela N Watkins and Dawn F Rooney
176 pp, 244 mm x 195 mm

ISBN: 978-981-4260-13-8
RRP USD50.00 buy from amazon


Southeast Asia is known to many as a region teeming with tourist destinations, economic opportunities and ex-colonies, but a lesser known facet is its colourful and myriad cultures in which ceramics forms an integral part of the social fabric. Focusing primarily on the Classical Period (800–1500 CE), ancient Southeast Asian culture is viewed through the lens of ceramic production and trade, influenced but not completely overshadowed by its powerful neighbour, China.

In this landmark publication, Southeast Asian Ceramics: New Light on Old Pottery, which accompanied the exhibition of the same name, notable archaeologist and scholar John N. Miksic (NUS) reconstructs a vivid image of the development of Southeast Asia’s unique ceramics. Along with three contributing authors—Pamela M. Watkins, Dawn F. Rooney, and Michael Flecker—he summarises the fruits of their research in the last 40 years, beginning with the founding of the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (SEACS) in Singapore in 1969. The result is a comprehensive and insightful overview of the technology, aesthetics and organisation, both economic and political, of seemingly diverse territories in pre-colonial Southeast Asia.  Southeast Asian Ceramics: New Light on Old Pottery is essential reading not only for those with an interest in the economic history of the region but for all who seek a better understanding of the brilliant but too often underestimated material culture of our forefathers.

John N. Miksic was born in 1946 in upstate New York. He received a PhD from Cornell University in 1979. His dissertation was on Archaeology, Trade and Society in Northeast Sumatra. Miksic was a Peace Corps Volunteer, Malaysia, between 1968 and 1972; a Regional Development Advisor, Bengkulu, between 1979 and 1981; a Project Specialist in archaeology, Gadjah Mada University and Asian Cultural Council between 1981 and 1987. Miksic has been a Lecturer with the National University of Singapore since 1987. His previous books include Historical Dictionary of Ancient Southeast Asia, Old Javanese Gold, Borobudur: Golden Tales of the Buddhas and Icons of Art: National Museum Jakarta.

Michael Flecker was born in Australia in 1962. He received a PhD from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His dissertation was on The Archaeological Excavation of the 10th Century Intan Shipwreck. In 1992, Flecker established the company Maritime Explorations and went on to direct the excavation of the c.1960 Vung Tau Wreck, the c.1608 Bin Thuan Wreck, the 15th-century Bakau Wreck, the 13th-century Java Sea Wreck, the 10th-century Intan Wreck and the 9th-century Belitung Wreck, among others. He co-authored Porcelain from the Vung Tau Wreck: the Hallstrom Excavation.

Dawn F. Rooney, and independent scholar and an art historian, specialises in the culture of Southeast Asia. Her books include four titles on ceramics of the region (all published by Oxford University Press); Betel Chewing Traditions in South-East AsiaAngkor: Cambodia's Wonderous Temples (Odyssey Guides); Thai Buddhas; and Ancient Sukhothai: Thailand's Cultural Heritage (River Books). She is an American and resides in Thailand.

Pamela M. Watkin, by profession a (retired) simultaneous interpreter, is a long time resident of Singapore and Jakarta. Her interest in Southeast Asian and Chinese ceramics was inspired by William Willetts in 1967-1969 through his encouragement, his lectures and some rather unconventional, joint shopping expeditions.



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