Burmese Painting: A Linear and Lateral History
By Andrew Ranard
This is the first comprehensive history of Burmese painting, from eleventh-century Pagan to the present, including over 175 painters and more than 300 photographs of work. The book explores the historical transformations of the art, with psychological interpretations of major artists, the legends which followed them, and analysis of their oeuvres. It also probes the unusual lateral dimensions of Burmese painting, where one thousand years of tradition have continued to survive and shape a rich corpus of largely unknown work.
Ranard links the traditional roots of Burmese painting in India with later influences from China, Thailand, Britain, Northern Europe, and America. Burma is an isolated country, but its art has been a major wellspring of inspiration in Southeast Asia. Today, the country struggles to reconcile complex pressures, and Ranard digs deeply to uncover these layers of conflict as reflected in Burmese painting.
Ranard writes eloquently of his discovery of Burmese painting in 1994. “I felt as if I had landed on a Pitcairn Island of art, where some virtuoso European master had shipwrecked a century earlier and left a legacy of learning in his castaway descendents. As I returned to Burma on subsequent trips, and saw so many varieties of styles - dead in the outside world but coexisting in harmony in Burma - a better metaphor struck me. Burma was a Galapagos Islands of Art, where styles had evolved into arrested forms - strange-feathered birds that bore resemblance to the mainstream but which had shot off in unique directions.”
About the author:
Andrew Ranard has lived in Burma and other Asian counties. His feature articles on the culture and arts of Asian societies have appeared in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. In 1994, he began collecting Burmese paintings and provided the Singapore Art Museum and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum with major portions of their collections of works by late Burmese artists. He presently lectures at universities in Japan.
Chiang Mai 2009
Large size 210 x 280 mm
378 pages, fully illustrated