Exhibition: The Knowledge Festival of University of Indonesia

Workshop: Decoding Knowledge- Meaning Behind the Symbols of Asian arts.

Event Category Seminar and Workshop
Event Date March 16, 2019

Scholars, entrepreneurs, collectors and public.

Hosted by

University of Indonesia


University of Indonesia Library

Crystal of Knowledge Building, Kampus UI, Depok – Indonesia

University of Indonesia, Jakarta, 16th March 2019.

Workshop: Decoding Knowledge- Meaning Behind the Symbols of Asian arts.
Workshop: Decoding Knowledge- Meaning Behind the Symbols of Asian arts.

Aminudin was assigned as a solo speaker and lecturer to provide a workshop or training on Decoding Knowledge: Meaning Behind the Symbol of Asian art.” The workshop itself was intended to teach the audience how to identify ancient Asian artwork through its symbolic meaning outside of the image and beauty of depicted on the art. Attended by numerous scholars, entrepreneurs, and collectors, the workshop made them more know what and how the meaning behind the symbols of Asian arts.

Asian art symbol is not separated with Asian culture itself, and it is a very interesting topic to learn about. Symbol has many meanings of beliefs, customs and traditions that make it unique and fascinating. Symbols on Asian art is very important to the Asian culture, and it was way to express the certain emotions in different eras and different situations. Asian artwork was crowded with heroes, fairies, and devils, who played their respective parts in the colorful legend story and drama. It is not wondered that Asia countries have many interesting old classical legends that have been handed down from generation to generation. The manners and customs of the Asian people have also naturally been influenced thereby to a very considerable degree.

Symbol depicted in art began in Asia in stone structure. It has evolved into carving, sculpture, ceramics, weaving, leather, wooden, wall painting, silk painting, and a technique known as origami. Carvings were a very popular Asian technique of displaying art, and many of them were inspired by Asian old beliefs and religions. There are many Asian arts are depicted with various symbols, such as scripts, animals, florals, heroes, that were demonstrated in variegated medias representing the tradition and exquisite customs of Asian. It can be also found in form, content, style, use, and culture for various works inside and outside of the image set, especially with the Asian artworks.

Some connoisseurs may consider that Asian art is a form of creative expression of artist. However, in historian society, the purpose of Asian art serves a historical momentum that helps society to look back in history and makes them able to distinguish if a collector of Asian arts is different than an artist or they both serve the same purpose. For example, the swastika image was a very popular symbol depicted in Asian art. The swastika has an interesting history, and it was not only interpreted as a form of creative expression of artist, but also represented as a certain religion symbol. The swastika image represents a loved and welcomed symbol for many people in the world. The term of Swastika or Svastika is derived from Sanskrit Su “well” and Asti “to be”, denoting resignation of spirit. It has been used by Artifacts such as, pottery and coins from ancient Troy (in late Classical antiquity as Asia Minor, now known as Anatolia in modern Turkey) as a common symbol from as far back as 1000 BC. For over 3,000 years swastika has been used as an ancient symbol. The swastika was frequently used as a common decoration representing life, sun, power, strength, and good luck.

Swastika image frequently appears in art and design throughout human history by symbolizing many different things. While in China and Japan, it would appear to be a Buddhist importation, thought it may possibly be a variation of the meander or diaper pattern. Thus, it is as a common religious decoration through art forms providing us with a vision into a realm of heavenly beauty. It is not only through worship and devotion that a certain society feels connected to God, but it also serves a great momentum in full of legendary stories, rich history and culture.

Asian art symbols can be looked upon in various ways. It describes a picture of the lifestyle of people from different times in history from their social organizations, economic life, culture and religious views and practices. During the learning in Workshop, Aminudin reviewed several Asian artworks depicting different designs and symbols. He shared his opinions to participants about symbols and design on those artworks. The participants were glad that they got this exciting experience and they felt that it has truly broadened their perspective on Asian art and has help them examine their collections in perspective of history, culture and way of life of Asian. Throughout the course of human history, symbol on Asian artworks has been instrumental in capturing the spirit of the time and certain meanings in which it was created as well as impact the world around it for generations. Aminudin suggested to the participants, “Asian Art symbolizes dignity of its collector. Although It is in the eye and eclectic of the beholder, but the meaning behind its symbols will make sense to the senseless world.”

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