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Special Artist's Lecture - The Restoration of a Saung-Gauk: A Burmese Harp in Japanese Lacquer

Friday, January 25, 2013
5:00 AM
Multipurpose Room, University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), 525 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI

The saung-gauk is a harp from Burma, carved from the root of the saung tree.

In this talk, the process of restoration of the harp will be described and the background on its music and context in Burmese court society will also be discussed. This lecture coincides with a special presentation of lacquer ware made in Japan and the Ryûkyû Islands from the Muromachi to Edo periods in the Gallery of Japanese Art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.


Clifton Monteith, an artist inspired by nature in both form and material, has studied traditional natural urushi lacquer in Japan since 1994, and has incorporated this material in his own artwork, mostly furniture, lanterns, and vessels, all sculptural pieces made with natural materials.

Judith Becker, professor emerita of ethnomusicology, is an expert on Southeast Asian music, including the classical Burmese music for which this harp was used. Her most recent book is Deep Listeners: Music, Emotion, and Trancing (2004).

Co-sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the Center for Japanese Studies, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.