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Burmese Art in American Collections

October 30, 2014
Morton Auditorium
Free with museum admission

Among the great riches of Southeast Asian artistic traditions, probably the least well-known are those of Burma/Myanmar—both of the dominant Buddhist majority and of a host of ethnic minorities. Burmese art is represented in major American collections primarily by Buddhist images and related religious paraphernalia, by textiles embodying Buddhist stories and symbology, and by parabeiks, the extraordinary—and quintessentially Burmese—accordion-folded, intensively illustrated manuscripts.

Regrettably, even the finest of these pieces are seldom displayed with adequate interpretive materials. In this presentation, Raymond elaborates on the meaning and utility of exemplary artifacts, broadening the understanding of the richness of Burmese art and cultures.

Catherine Raymond has been the director of the Center for Burma Studies (CBS) and curator of the Burmese Art Collections at the NIU Art Museum since 2002, mounting a major biennial exhibition interspersed with smaller displays usually co-curated with her graduate students. She also hosts the International Burma Studies Conference at NIU every fourth year. Raymond was trained under Jean Boisselier, Madeleine Giteau, and Denise Bernot and holds a PhD in art and archaeology from La Sorbonne. Having studied in the 1980s at both at the Institute of Foreign Languages in Yangon and at Yangon University, she received a DREA in Burmese language from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INaLCO), where from 1985 through 2001 she was also a lecturer and a membre de l’Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient.

For more information, phone (312) 443-7282 or e-mail

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Belief Made Tangible exhibition, 2008. Burmese Art Collection at Northern Illinois University, Center for Burma Studies.