Tag: artefacts

Sydney Morning Herald Column


Thursday, February 11th, 2016 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

‘Civilisation’ is a concept that has changed beyond recognition over the past century. To the pioneering ethnographers of the Victorian era, tribal cultures were merely stages on the way to the civilised state. Viewed as backward, impoverished and superstitious, it was accepted that such communities would wither and die as they fell under the spell […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great

Saturday, August 15th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Following the death of Prince Grigory Potemkin in 1791, Catherine the Great wrote her own epitaph. Potemkin had not only been Catherine’s most trusted advisor, statesman and general, but the undisputed love of her life. Feeling her own mortality, she set down how she would like to be remembered. Catherine, by her own estimation, had […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Encounters with Bali & Une Australienne: Hilda Rix Nicholas

Saturday, June 14th, 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It would be fascinating to know how many art collections begin with an epiphany. The term, immortalised by James Joyce in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, refers to a sudden revelation, a moment of heightened consciousness. For Dr. John Yu that moment arrived one day in the late 1970s, when his […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column


Saturday, April 26th, 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“After Akcha,” wrote Robert Byron, in his legendary travel book, The Road to Oxiana (1937) “the colour of the landscape changed from lead to aluminium, pallid and deathly, as if the sun had been sucking away at its gaiety for thousands and thousands of years; for this was now the plain of Balkh, and Balkh […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Gold and the Incas

Saturday, January 18th, 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It may be the stuff of popular culture but whenever I think of the Incas, Aztecs or Mayans the first images that spring to mind are from Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (2006). This drama of native American life in the days before the Spanish conquest may be one of the most brutal and disturbing movies ever […]