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Weapons of Persuasion - the global wanderings of six Kandyan objects

This book explores the return of six outstanding Kandyan artefacts to Sri Lanka by the Dutch government in 2023. It captures numerous reflections of the international interdisciplinary research team that investigated the provenance of these artifacts and the remarkable layered history that the research unveiled. It includes reports from provenance researchers, interviews with museum directors, and essays from historians and practitioners in history and heritage studies.

Alicia Schrikker, Doreen van den Boogaart (eds.)
15 January 2024
Tambapanni Academic Publishers

[Text from publisher Tambapanni Academic Publishers:]

"After repeated requests from Sri Lankan authorities and urged by critical debates about colonial museum collections across the globe, the Dutch government decided in July 2023 to give back six Kandyan artefacts. The decorated cannon, the golden and silver kasthane, the golden pihiya and the two maha thuwakku (wall guns) that returned to Sri Lanka are of outstanding quality. They al originate form the palace in Kandy and were probably among the spoils of war, following the Dutch invasion and destruction of the palace in 1765. In 2021 an international interdisciplinary research team investigated their provenance. The remarkable layered history that the researh unveiled, forms the starting point of this book.

The objects tell stories of Kandyan craftmanship, courtly politics, gift exchange and violand warfare and reflect histories of cross-cultural interaction and inventive adaptation. Once the objects began to wander through Dutch collections, their provenance was soon forgotten and they became symbols of Dutch national history instead.

Weapons of Persuasion informs a broad readership on what the object tell us about history, but also raises questions about how we relate to the past at present. And it reflects on what may happen to these, and other objects with similar histories, in the future. Weapons of Persuasion is a collective project and includes reports from the provenance researchers, interviews with musem directors, as well as essays from historians and practioners in the field of history and heritage."

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