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Ancient Glassware in Malaysia : The Pengkalan Bujang Collection

Ancient Glassware in Malaysia : The Pengkalan Bujang Collection

Daniel Perret & Zulkifli Jaafar (ed.)
2014, Department of Museums Malaysia, École française d'Extrême-Orient, Kuala Lumpur, 205p., 

Pre-European glassware is a type of artefact present on more than fourty sites in Southeast Asia. Usually found in much smaller quantities than earthenware, stoneware or porcelain, this material nevertheless has drawn the curiosity of archaeologists due generally to its fineness, the beauty of its colours and the many questions related to its presence in Southeast Asia.

In fact, in this region, the history of the study of pre-European glass-vessel remains started some 150 years ago, in the Malay Peninsula, precisely in Lembah Bujang, Kedah. This book provides a brief up-to-date review of this history.

In its collections, the Archeological Museum at Lembah Bujang keeps thousands of glassware shards gathered during surveys and excavations conducted in the Lembah Bujang region from the 1970s to 2006. Among these glassware remains, those found at the Pengkalan Bujang site, a prominent international trading centre during the twelfth – thirteenth centuries AD, are the most numerous. Today, with close to 6,000 shards, this Pengkalan Bujang collection figures among the largest ancient glassware collection ever studied in Southeast Asia.

A catalogue, which includes descriptions of a selection of glass fragments, illustrated in photographs and drawings, as well as comparisons using full reference to the scholarly literature, supplemented with an analysis of chemical compositions,constitutes the main part of this book.

As indications of glassware production in Southeast Asia prior to the sixteenth century are still lacking, this material is evidence of direct or indirect contact with regions as far as the Mediterranean, to the west, and China, to the east. As such, glassware constitutes another side of the far-reaching networks operating in the region in former times. Like other foreign productions, its presence thus raises the questions of its origins and of the people involved in its circulation. And perhaps more than any other foreign artefact, the questions related to its users and purposes in Southeast Asia appear to be more challenging.

ISBN : 978-967-0372-10-5

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