CSEAS Friday Lecture: Dr. Catherine Raymond, Northern Illinois University, Professor of Art History

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies Presents:

Southeast Asia Lecture Series


Speaker: Dr. Catherine Raymond, Northern Illinois University - Curator of the Burma Collection, Director of the Center for Burma Studies, and NIU Professor of Southeast Asian Art History

Title: “Visions from Another World: Forgotten Treasures in the Burma Art Collection at NIU”

The Burma Art Collection here at NIU encompasses precious artifacts and essential documents endowed or bequeathed over the years by several Americans who lived and worked in Burma/Myanmar following the country’s de-colonization.

With the partial collapse after 1948 of the British Empire in South and Southeast Asia, US diplomats, aid workers, missionaries, and even military personnel posted to newly independent Burma found themselves able to purchase a wide range of inexpensive artworks and historical objects: sometimes vastly broadening the appreciation and understanding of their exotic posting’s history and cultural diversity.

Notable amongst these now housed with us here are Buddhist sculptures dating from as early as the 8th century; important maps from the 18th century; and manuscripts and texts —sometimes illuminated and sometimes not— of all kinds: in ivory inlaid with gold or silver lettering; or engraved on metal or lacquerware; or inked/incised on mulberry paper.

Each of these objects —many of them in media or in styles no longer extant in their regions of origin— constitutes a unique treasure; of which the conservatorship, conservation, and display are both our pleasure and our responsibility. Amongst these is a group of Burmese Reverse Glass Paintings, first assembled in the 1970’s and comprising in fair part what is arguably now here at now at NIU one of the best such collections in the world.

Given their relative rarity and peculiarity —not to mention the special brilliance and color retention displayed by even middling-quality Reverse Glass Paintings — it appears surprising how little scholarship was published before now on so intriguing an art form.

Dr. Catherine Raymond, Curator of the Burma Collection, Director of the Center for Burma Studies, and NIU Professor of Southeast Asian Art History will elaborate on her ongoing research and aspects of the exhibition “Vanishing Art from Myanmar: The Buddhist Reverse Glass Painting Traditions” on view at the NIU Museum through February 15th, 2019, which was mounted in close collaboration with her MA students in Art History, and also with the NIU Graduate Museum Studies Program.

Friday, January 25 at 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Altgeld Hall, 125
595 College Ave, DeKalb, IL 60115

Event Type

Lectures, Presentations and Workshops


Arts and Culture

Target Audience

Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, General Public, Prospective Students



Art Museum, Center for Burma Studies, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, College of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Art and Design
Contact Name

Rachael Skog

Contact Email or Phone


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