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Jones-Amin, Holly, Tan, Heidi and Tee, Alvin (2006) 'Gamelan: Can a Conservation-Conceived Protocol Protect it Spiritually and Physically in a Museum?' Studies in Conservation, 51 (2). pp. 138-143.

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The Javanese revere the gamelan (an orchestra played in Indonesia) for its spiritual power; can the museum uphold these beliefs? Such beliefs govern making, cleaning, moving, repairing and playing the instruments. When a western conservator and Singaporean curatorial staff learnt to play the gamelan, studied its manufacture and interviewed its makers in Indonesia, a profound shift in understanding of the role underpinning the materials and spiritual beliefs occurred. In response, a protocol and maintenance plan were developed for the gamelan to accommodate its installation and use in the Southeast Asian Performing Arts Gallery at the Asian Civilisation Museum (ACM) in Singapore. The protocol addresses both conservation aims and rules of use, in addition to the observation of Javanese beliefs. Since its instigation, it has been used to guide maintenance, musician use, tuning and documentation. The protocol poses philosophical questions concerning Javanese cultural beliefs and how to observe them in a museum context. In light of this protocol, this paper asks; how do we respect these beliefs and determine what level of intervention is appropriate

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of the History of Art & Archaeology
ISSN: 00393630
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2023 11:25

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