Editorial introduction

This encyclopedia contains entries from 120 writers from the 50 countries of the Asia Pacific Region. It is a unique and majestic overview of the creative spirit that continues to ornament our rich and diverse part of the globe.

This encyclopedia has many benefits. One of the principal aims of this flagship project of WCC-Asia Pacific Region is to the help preserve languishing crafts. A listing in the encyclopedia offers a form of recognition that will assist attempts to revive an endangered technique. The encyclopedia also provides a means of sharing information in a way that is accessible to the increasingly large proportion of the population accessing materials online, especially the younger generation who are critical to its sustainability. The use of tagging in entries facilitates cross-referencing which should facilitate dialogue between the countries of the region. And for supporters of the crafts, the entries contain information about where they can be found today, thus supporting tourism and development projects.

The project builds on the locally-based expertise of the WCC-APR network. Each country was asked to nominate a particular number of crafts considered important to feature in this database. National editors were selected in consultation with the Vice-Presidents, who operated as Regional Coordinators. In this way, the encyclopedia project reflects the identity of crafts determined by the countries themselves. There are some entries, such as soap-making from olive oil or shrine-building that do not necessarily feature in the Western modern craft framework. In this way, the encyclopedia project helps to adjust our understanding of the global craft field to accommodate cultural characteristics of the Asia Pacific region.

The contributors to this encyclopedia now constitute a unique network of craft expertise across the Asia Pacific. They were asked to write entries around 300 words in length about their assigned topic. Technical entries covered the origins of the craft, its materials, cultural elements and state of health. Information was also welcomed about where examples of this craft can be found today. In this way, it is hoped that the encyclopedia can serve to promote the crafts and enhance sustainability. Each country was also assigned medium entries that offered an overview of materials such as textiles, ceramics, wood, metal and glass.

This project has been wisely guided by the committee consisting of Mr.Indrasen Ventacachellum, Raja Fuziah binti Raja Tun Uda and Ms.Usha Krishna. It would be worthwhile to particularly commend the vision and generous funding of Dr. Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi for this personal initiative prompted by her capacity as President of World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific Region. It is hoped that this initial overview of the region will be a base for many future projects. In this way, the encyclopedia will be a ‘sadakha jariah’, an ongoing perpetual funding, to sustain the spirit of the crafts across our wonderful region.

Please enjoy this collection. Feel free to add comments. This is a dynamic database and we welcome feedback. Join with us in WCC-APR in keeping the spirit of our craft traditions alive.

Dr Kevin Murray
Managing Editor
Online Encyclopedia of Crafts for Asia Pacific Region