Cycle Conférences SFEMT 2018/2019 : 6 juin Emma Martin

La SFEMT a le plaisir d’annoncer la tenue, dans le cadre du Cycle Conférences SFEMT 2018/2019, de la conférence suivante :

Material Histories of Diplomacy: Tracing Tibetan Gift Giving in the Imperial Archive

Jeudi 6 juin 2019, 17h30-19h00 (Salle 3.04, INALCO – 65, rue des Grands Moulins, 75013 Paris, M 14 et RER C Bibliothèque F. Mitterrand)

par Emma Martin (National Museums Liverpool/University of Manchester)

The 9th Panchen Lama’s palanquin and bearers waiting for the lama as he descends the stairs of Government House, Calcutta (Photograph taken on 29 December 1905, photographer unknown, courtesy of a Private Collection).

Résumé :

The British lost thousands of diplomatic gifts from Tibet. Following gift exchanges, objects were systematically stripped of their entangled histories, and surreptitiously de-valued, de-politicised, de-cultured, and then discarded.

Using anthropological concepts of Immaterialism to consider loss and absence, this paper deals with a plethora of phantom objects located in imperial archives. It focuses on the fate of gifts given by Tibetans to the British during the early 20th century. It begins by providing the geo-political context for such gifting and the types of gifts given, before turning to British methods for deposing of diplomatic things.

This paper not only thinks about the archival presence of historically important objects that can no longer be seen, but it concludes by considering the implications of this research for the many thousands of Tibetan objects without provenance in Europe’s museum collections. 

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