Sarsikyo: Woven Voices from the Past
About this lecture
“Sarsikyo”, the unique Buddhist dedicatory ribbons, are barely known even in Myanmar, their place of origin, let alone in the outside world. In the past century, the number of researchers who have paid attention to these fascinating objects/texts can literally be counted on one hand. In this lecture, Vanessa Chan, currently a serving diplomat in Myanmar, will be speaking about “sarsikyo” both as woven textiles, a fascinating element of the Buddhist material culture of Myanmar, and as texts, a unique source of historical information about the hopes and beliefs of Myanmar Buddhist donors for two hundred years, from the pre-colonial royal era, right up to the early 1980s. She will also speak briefly about her successful attempt to revive the weaving of “sarsikyo”, and her hopes for their acceptance both as a subject of serious historical and sociological study, and for their restoration in modern form as a small but integral part of Buddhist culture.
About the speaker
Vanessa Elisabeth Chan Yuen Ying was the Director-General of the International Organisations Directorate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from January 2012 to June 2017. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Law, (Honours) from the University of Cambridge, England in 1988. Ms Chan joined the Singapore Foreign Service in 1995. Her portfolios have covered North America, Southeast Asia and International Organisations. She served as the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the United Nations Development Programme Global Centre for Public Service Excellence in Singapore from 2013 to June 2017. She is also the author of “Sarsikyo: Woven Dedicatory Ribbons of Myanmar”, Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Working Paper Series, and “Sarsikyo: Woven Dedicatory Ribbons of Myanmar – Photographs of Catalogue Numbers 1-190 from the Sarsikyo Collection of Vanessa Chan”, Myanmar Book Centre Publishing, 2019.