Ceremonies of worship of Sarasvatī and educational aids among the Lohāṇās of Pune

Since the 1970s, the two Pune associations of the endogamous Hālāi and Kacchī sections of the Lohāṇā caste have encouraged their young members to continue their studies by granting them an increasing amount of aid. The annual prize-giving ceremony organized on the occasion of the worship of Sarasvatī-goddess of art and knowledge-, is first shortly described. Secondly, the educational aid programs of the Pune associations over some thirty years are compared. Finally, the school and academic results are analysed quantitatively, using the data supplied by the three censuses that each section has compiled during this period.


Times and Places of Buddhist Histories: about some unpublished ʻChroniclesʼ from Lanna

Northern Thai literature transmitted in palm-leaf manuscripts in the monasteries of the region (Lanna), is rich and varied. With two or three hundred still little known titles far from being published, tamnan or traditional chronicles constitute one of its main genres. This genre remains diffi cult to characterize, in spite of numerous attempts, because it contains offi cial chronicles, religious annals, many edifying narratives dealing with the foundation of Buddhist sites, and fabulous stories of all kinds. Obviously the "author-compilers" of these texts did not try to distinguish between myth and history.

Taking several unpublished chronicles as examples, the author of this article tries to show tendencies and constants which fi x the outlines of the tamnan genre. What we find is essentially a temporal and geographical frame established by the Buddhist tradition, the text of which is a ritual but fl exible repetition. Inside this frame are presented the series of real or imaginary events, lived, feared or desired by the "chronicler" who is constructing his original narrative.

The analysis is essentially philological but the author of this article indicates that the texts of the tamnan cannot really be understood without taking into account the social usage which has been made of them: if some politically useful chronicles (whether for the "prince" or for religious dignitaries) demanded factual reports for the purposes of legitimisation, the great majority of the texts of tamnan were composed for edifying purposes for public readings or performances.

Pierre BÂTY

The Angkorian knives from Trapeang Thlok and Prasat Trapeang Ropou

A group of iron knives dated to the 10th and 11th century CE was recently brought to light in Cambodia during archaeological excavations in the Angkor region and on the Phnom Kulen. Restoration work was carried out in France over four knife blades from these archaeological contexts. During the process, leather sheaths were found to have been preserved thanks to their impregnation by iron oxide. This essay provides a fi rst attempt at building up a typology based on the very few contemporary fi nds of iron knives and from their representations at Angkor Vat and the Bayon. The use of leather during the Angkorian period appears never to have been documented so far by archaeologists. This discovery should restrain some preconceived notions about the "permanence of forms" of various kinds of tools. It also poses the question of the status of such tools: were they ostentatious, military, personal?


Rehabilitating Funan. Óc Eo, or, the fi rst Angkor

Funanese history is one of the main transitional periods in the history of Southeast Asia. This makes it very susceptible to the changing historiographical positions on the two great issues of Indianization and state-formation. For more than three decades, in reaction to previous studies, the new priority has been to demonstrate how these two processes had no real effect on the cultural and socio-political continuity of the history of the region. Because Funanese history had earlier been taken to illustrate the close connection between Indianization and state-formation, it seemed imperative to review this history, given the perceived importance of the separation of these two processes.

The outcome of this new approach is a curious view of Funanese history deprived of its main documentary sources in order to fi t the concept of an only superfi cially Indianized "proto-state". In that respect, the surprising omission of the "urbanism" of Óc Eo speaks for itself. The purpose of the present paper is to undertake afresh the description of this urbanism and to demonstrate again, thanks in part to newly available data, both its antiquity and the reference to an Indian model. That leads us to rethink the place of Óc Eo in the urban history of the region, and to consider it as a kind of "fi rst Angkor" whose geometric "urbanism" is a major feature of ancient Cambodia.


The Qianlong Emperor's Western Vistas: Linear Perspective and Trompe l'Oeil Illusion in the European Palaces of the Yuanming yuan

The Qianlong emperor (r. 1736-1795) delighted in the play of trompe l'oeil illusions made possible with the European artistic technique of linear perspective. Jesuit missionaryartists active at the Qing court-among them the Italian Giuseppe Castiglione (1688- 1766)-catered to the imperial taste for exotic Western images in numerous paintings and mural decorations. However, the most spectacular visual illusions created for the emperor were part of the group of buildings in a hybrid European and Chinese style that were constructed at the Yuanming yuan, the Qing imperial garden-palace northwest of Beijing. Here in the so-called European Palaces, distinctive features of European gardens were recreated for the emperor's gaze in constructions which depicted marvelous illusions of European vistas. The sources that Castiglione and his colleagues relied upon and their creative transformation of European sources for their Chinese imperial patron reveal a complex interplay of Chinese and European visual cultures, an interplay embodied in these and other contemporary uses of exotic trompe l'oeil techniques that all had the fi gure of the emperor as their central focus.


Buddhist Temples o r Political Battlegrounds? Kaesŏng Temples in Relation to Court and Aristocracy

In the Koryŏ dynasty, Buddhism fulfi lled an important role as an offi cially endorsed religion. Although monks could not play a part in politics, as symbolic representations of dynastic power, temples were seen as extensions of political power. A systematic study of the relations between the abbots of important temples in the capital Kaesŏng and the royal descent group and political elites in the eleventh and twelfth centuries shows that most of these abbots were scions of the families that dominated secular government. However, despite attempts to keep the abbacy of a particular temple within the same family by passing it on from paternal uncle to nephew, descent groups seldom gained exclusive control of a temple. In most cases one can thus observe an alternation between abbots from prominent families and those from less prominent local elites. However, temples still served as a nexus of aristocratic capital life, and contained special compounds that served as a place where monastic and secular elites could interact and eminent monks could retire to.


The Manifestation of the Absolute in the Phenomenal World: Nature Origination in Huayan Exegesis

The dating of the earliest activity at Khao Sam Kaeo in the mid 1st millennium BC coincides with the known appearance of metallurgy in Insular and Peninsula Southeast Asia. Due to the lack of excavation in the Upper Peninsula, the current project is an opportunity to investigate metal technologies within an early urban settlement on the Trans-Asiatic exchange route. After three field seasons, we are able to present our preliminary observations on the metallurgical material excavated; with evidence for activities and/or exchanges involving gold, lead/tin, copper, and iron.

New publication

Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient 105 (2019)

Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie, vol. 28 (2019) : Pokchang, Image Consecration in Korean Buddhism


Second volume of the 2018/2019 activity report

The second volume of the 2018/2019 activities report was presented to the School's Academic Council on 23 June. It is now available HERE.
Article - L'Histoire

L'Histoire dedicates the dossier of its April issue to : "Angkor, how an empire dies." It contains contributions from Gabrielle Abbe, Roland Fletcher, Christophe Pottier, Yves Saint-Geours and Dominique Soutif.
New publication

Arts Asiatiques 74 (2019)

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Vietnam Publishers Association Award (Category B)
Ho Chi Minh City,

Nguyễn Thị Hiệp, Marcus Durand, Philippe Papin, and Olivier Tessier have received the prize (category B) from the Vietnam Publishers Association for the work "Tranh Dân Gian Việt Nam" [Imagerie Populaire Vietnamienne] by Maurice Durand (2018, EFEO & Nxb Văn hóa Văn nghẹ, TP. Ho Chi Minh, 451 p.).