17
June 2019

Shimmering Splendour: Silk in South-East Asia

The Arts Society Maidenhead
Monday, June 17, 2019 - 11:30
Norden Farm Arts Centre
Altwood Road Maidenhead SL6 4PF

Luxurious, sumptuous silk, beloved of kings and courts, priests and princesses, is a miracle of nature. The thread of silkworms, woven into fabric, a process guarded in China when discovered, became so valuable it was a source of currency. 

Luxurious, sumptuous silk, beloved of kings and courts, priests and princesses, is a miracle of nature. The thread of silkworms, woven into fabric, a process guarded in China when discovered, became so valuable it was a source of currency. This sensual material, created in countries from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to Thailand, Burma, Bali and Philippines, embellishes all who wear it. But its origins were sacred, a gift from the gods, to cover holy manuscripts, adorn sacred dancers in rituals and protect wearers with auspicious symbols.

 

This lecture shows the origins of silk, most dazzling of all natural creations, revealing its transformation from silkworm cocoons, dyed and woven in glorious colours and complex patterns. Images of sartorial splendour, glamorising handsome film stars, ennobling monarchs at royal courts and enhancing dancers’ ethereal beauty in Hindu temples, illustrate how human and divine forms have been enriched by this shimmering material.

THE ARTS SOCIETY ACCREDITED LECTURER

Ms Denise Heywood

Art historian, author, lecturer, photographer and journalist. Worked in Cambodia in the 1990s and has been a scholar of Southeast Asian art ever since. Her books include one on the Buddhist temples of Laos, Ancient Luang Prabang and Laos, also in French, and Cambodian Dance Celebration of the Gods, with a foreword by the daughter of King Sihanouk. Lectures for the Art Fund, the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) on their post graduate Asian Art Course and for Madingley Hall (University of Cambridge); also for organisations such as the British Museum, the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, Asia House, the National Trust, the Royal Geographical Society and has lectured worldwide for universities, museums, colleges, art institutions, literary societies and travel organisations. She writes for many art, literary and travel publications and has appeared on television and radio. She has led cultural tours to Southeast Asia and France for the Royal Academy, the Art Fund, Asia House and many more and lectures on cruise ships. A member of the Association of Southeast Asian Studies in the UK, Asia House and the Royal Geographical Society.