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South East Asia

The Southeast Asian collections at the Oriental Museum reflect the diverse nature of this area. The museum is home to collections from the majority of the many countries that make up the region. The objects range from ceramics to textiles, as well as including musical instruments, wood carvings, lacquer-ware and arms and armour.

The core of the Southeast Asian collections is formed by the objects acquired in two groups in 1976 and 1980 from Rt Hon Malcolm MacDonald. After World War II, MacDonald served first as Governor General of Malaya and Singapore and later as Commissioner General for Southeast Asia. During this time he amassed a considerable collection of fascinating pieces which reflect the cultures of the region. Many of these objects were presented to him by key political figures in the region at that time.

Complementing this is the Roberts Collection of Balinese Art. This substantial collection of woodcarving, sculpture and paintings from the island of Bali provides a detailed picture of the changing nature of art on the island during the 20th century. The Stemson collection of ceramics includes more than 100 pieces from across Southeast Asia, ranging in date from prehistory to the 20th century.

Most recently the museum has been collecting contemporary Vietnamese material to support an exhibition created in early 2015. Two new donations from Mr and Mrs Glendenning and Rev Bingham have also helped to considerably swell the collections from this region. Work to research and catalogue these new acquisitions is ongoing.

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Search Durham collections using our online database. Explore items from the Oriental Museum that aren't on display.

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