(source: Asia Society New York Blog)
Artist Combines Ancient Ornaments from His Homeland With Contemporary Concepts
Designer Terence Tan’s background in archaeology, anthropology and paleontology has given him a unique perspective of Myanmar’s history. Over the years he has collected an extensive array of stones and beads, many of them from prehistoric sites dating from civilizations that flourished during the Bronze-Iron Transition Period.
Tan’s jewelry collection combines ancient stones with contemporary concepts. Asia Blog spoke with him in New York to learn more about his work.
Could you tell us about the inspiration for your jewelry?
I get inspiration from ancient ornaments and combine them with contemporary concepts to create my designs. I create conceptual jewelry, and I like using motifs and designs that represent auspiciousness and prosperity. My collection for the Asia Society is inspired by the Pyu era (200 BC – 900 AD), which is considered a proto-historical period. It means that some of the written records from the period can be deciphered, and some cannot. Each of the pieces from the collection is handmade and one-of-a-kind.
Tell us about your research and the process of writing your book, Ancient Jewellery of Myanmar.
For my PhD, I specialized in ancient ornaments from Myanmar. The book involved almost two decades of work. For my research, I traveled in Myanmar to places that are very difficult to reach, staying at monasteries in different villages.
What advice would you like to give to young artists?
Learn as much as possible because inspiration is right beside you. You don’t have to go too far. Everything can be your inspiration.
Terence Tan’s collection, along with his book Ancient Jewellery of Myanmar, are now availableat AsiaStore.
Interview by: Tim Lau
Photos by: Zhi Yong