SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

Panggah Ardiyansyah

  • Research


Panggah Ardiyansyah
Panggah Ardiyansyah
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Thesis title:
Heritage as accumulated meaning: Transactions, appropriation and biographies of Hindu-Buddhist materials in pre-modern Indonesia (working title)
Year of Study:
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My main interest lies on the Hindu-Buddhist materials in Indonesia - produced during the so-called "classical" period between fifth and fifteenth centuries - and how they were repurposed and reused during the so-called Islamic period ranging from sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. I am also interested in the process of knowledge production for Indonesian antiquities, collecting practice and object restitution, and historiography of modern Indonesia. I recently co-edited a volume, titled Returning Southeast Asia's Past: Objects, Museums, and Restitution. This volume explores the lives of artefacts which have been repatriated from the West to museums in Southeast Asia and is the first edited volume entirely devoted to object restitution to this region.

PhD Research

My PhD research focuses on the Hindu-Buddhist materials in Indonesia, generally produces during the ‘classical’ period between fifth and fifteenth centuries, and how they were repurposed and reused during the so-called Islamic period ranging from sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. It seeks to investigates how the materials carry renewed and renegotiated meanings for local communities while it is generally thought that they were left abandoned and suddenly lost meaning when the majority of population converted into Islam. Thus, the main objective of this research is to investigate the ways in which meanings of Hindu-Buddhist architectural ruins, along with their artefacts and iconographies, were accumulated, with ‘original’ understandings – which may or may not differ depending on each socio-religious context – at once recollected and reinterpreted, perhaps at times and over time manifestly forgotten even while lingering obscurely in collective memory. These accumulated memories speak volumes about the (after-)lives of Hindu-Buddhist materials, from their origins in ancient Indonesia to their transforming status as heritage in the premodern period. The research contributes to decolonizing Indonesian art history and archaeology by deconstructing the rigid categorization opposing ‘classical’ and Islamic antiquities, and by reconstructing the long history of ancient Hindu-Buddhist materials across times and cultures in probing appropriations, transactions and reconfigurations.


  • Southeast Asian art and archaeology
  • Museum and collecting practice
  • Historiography
  • Knowledge production