September 27 2017

17, Place du Trocadéro, Paris

Musée de l'Homme

In the 19th century, major collections of Asian arts reached European museums. These collections provide useful comparisons of the reception of these cultures in different Western museums. While it is possible to recognise some key moments in the movement of objects from the East to the West (e.g. the discovery of Buddhist antiquities in the mid-century, or the expansion and establishment of colonialisms), the incorporation of these works into existing museum collections, or their interpretation according to scholarly knowledge at the time, differed depending on the range of objects available and the various national scholarly traditions.

One of the case studies of the ‘Universal Histories and Universal Museums’ project draws on the South Asian collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, including those that were brought to Europe so to be displayed in temporary exhibitions. The research centres on the purposes of museums in acquiring these objects, their use in displays and in public events, and debate around their position in the collections.

This workshop aims to explore the acquisition, inventory, and display of Asian objects in Western museums.



9.30     Welcome and Introduction to the project and themes of the workshop (André Delpuech, Sandra Kemp, Hervé Inglebert)

10.00   ‘Setting the Scene: The Trocadéro’ (Christiane Demeulenaere-Douyère, Archives Nationales)

10.30   ‘Emile Guimet’s Museum of Religions (1878-1918)’: a collection of ideas (Pierre Baptiste, Musée Guimet)

11.00   Coffee

Roundtable: Histories of Museums of Asian arts, their collections and displays: UK contexts (chaired by Kate Hill)

11.15   ‘Where in the World is Asian Ethnography?’ (Claire Wintle, University of Brighton)

11.45   ‘India: Collecting Strategies and visitor responses at the East India Company’s museum in the early 1800s’ (Arthur MacGregor, Ashmolean)

12.15   ‘The presentation of India at the Paris Exposition: critical and curatorial perspectives from 1878’ (Sandra Kemp, V&A and Imperial College London)

12.45   Resumé and Roundtable Discussion, linking to larger themes of the project with 10 minutes on universal museums, chaired by Kate Hill (University of Lincoln)

13.15   Lunch

14.30   Gallery visit and view of the 1878 Trocadéro building

15.30   Tea/Coffee (Claude Lévi-Strauss room)

Roundtable: Histories of Museums of Asian arts, their collections and displays: French contexts (chaired by André Delpuech)

15.45   ‘The unlikely genesis of the Chinese collections of the Mission of China (1843-1846)’ (Christiane Demeulenaere-Douyère, Archives Nationales)

16.15   ‘Angkor at the museum: the paradoxical destiny of an Asian art collection (Thierry Zephir, Musée Guimet)’

16.45   Resumé and Roundtable Discussion chaired by André Delpuech (Musée de l’Homme) starting with 10 minutes by André Delpuech on “La galerie ethnographique du Musée de l’Armée (1877-1917)”

17.15   Closing remarks (Hervé Inglebert, University Paris Nanterre)

17.45   Ends





Musée de l'Homme
17, Place du Trocadéro, Paris _____