University of Hawaii at Manoa Library

These exhibits are available for viewing during normal library hours.
For more information on the Asia Collection, see

2008 Asia Exhibits

These exhibits are available for viewing during normal library hours. For more information on the Asia Collection, see

Go back to the list of exhibits by gallery.

Illustrated Animal Tales from Asia: Books for Children & Sources for Storytellers

November 12, 2008 - December 31, 2008

Children's books from Hamilton Library's Asia Collection and Juvenile Collection are on display. Colorful illustrations from twenty-three animal tales from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam include a magpie and a grateful ant; a trickster rabbit and a crocodile; an ungrateful tiger; a sick caterpillar; the beckoning cat from Japan; two herons and an unwise tortoise; a persevering bear; befuddled monkeys; and more.

Two types of folktale indexes, tale-type and motif indexes, are featured in the last display case for "Finding Tales" both for comparative folklore research and for storytelling. (Motifs are the smaller, salient elements within a tale.) Included are Stith Thompson's revision of Finnish folklorist Antti Aarne's original classification The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography (1928, rev. 1961); Thompson's six-volume Motif Index of Folk Literature (rev. ed. 1955-1958); Margaret MacDonald's The Storyteller's Sourcebook: A Subject, Title, and Motif Index to Folklore Collections for Children (1982); Hans-Jorg Uther's three-volume The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography (2004); and separate indexes for folktales from several Asian countries. A bibliography of research tools: "Selected Sources for Asian Folktale & Motif Research" was compiled for the exhibit. The exhibit was assembled by Linda Laurence with cultural and/or installation assistance from the following staff: Julie Lee, Alicia Yanagihara, Yi Lee, Etsuko Chopey, Daniel Kane and Kyle Sasaoka.

Illustrated Animal Tales from Asia

Apsarases in Art & Literature

September 10, 2008 - October 31, 2008

From the Rg Veda in India, ca. 1200-900 B.C.E. ~ to a 12th century Cambodian king's "Mount Meru" on earth ~ to Japan's 1993 "flyby" lunar orbiter "Hiten/Hagoromo" ~ to the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony "fei tian" dance in China, apsarases have held an enduring place in the imaginations of storytellers and artists all across Asia.

The current Asia Collection exhibit features photographs of stone-carved apsarases at three temples in Cambodia (Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, and Banteay Srei) by Rohayati Paseng, Hamilton Library's Southeast Asia librarian, and includes displays of artistic, literary, and research sources assembled by Linda Laurence, Library Technician, Asia Collection.

Apsarases (from Sanskrit "moving in/on water") are flying, immortal, female celestial beings from Indra's heaven ('Svarga'), associated with clouds and mists; with waters, oceans, and skies; and with dance and music. Folklore motifs bear some resemblance to Western swan-maidens.

The origin of apsarases is linked to the myth of the "churning of the milky ocean." Historical legends link them genealogically to numerous sages and rulers, including Bharata of India and the kings of Angkor.

Apsarases in Art and Literature

Ryukyu/Okinawa: Culture & Trade

June 2008

In celebration of the July 1st Opening of the UHM Center for Okinawan Studies, the Asia Collection Department has kicked off the new display of "Ryukyu/Okinawa: Culture & Trade." Much like Hawaii, Okinawa was a kingdom (Ryukyu Kingdom) until 1879. Situated among China, Taiwan, South Korea, and the mainland Japan, the Ryukyu Kingdom flourished because of trade. The display focuses on the flow of culture, ideas, and people in and out of the Ryukyu Kingdom to Asia, Pacific & the Americas, and Japan.

From July 1, the Center for Japanese Studies will present two exhibits of Okinawa Performing Arts and links between the University of Hawaii and Okinawa at Hamilton Library's Bridge and Phase II Galleries. Enjoy the summer of Ryukyu/Okinawa.

Ryukyu/Okinawa: Culture & Trade
Ryukyu/Okinawa: Culture & Trade

South Asian Dance: Bodies in Motion

April 2008 - June 2008

The new exhibit in the Asia Collection titled "South Asian Dance: Bodies in Motion," was designed in conjunction with the UHM Center for South Asian Studies' 25th Annual Spring Symposium on "The Body in South Asian Contexts," April 10-11, 2008. The Symposium will be held at the Center for Korean Studies and is free and open to the public. The exhibit coordinators are Linda Laurence and Monica Ghosh. Saris and ornaments in the exhibit are on loan to the library from Sonja Sironen, MA student in the Theater and Dance Department.

exhibit on South Asian Dance
exhibit on South Asian Dance

Chinese Picture Story Book Exhibit

February 2008

Lian Huan Hua literally means "linked serial pictures." They are pocket sized picture-story books first published by a Shanghai publisher in the 1920s. Lian huan hua is also commonly known as Xiao ren shu, children's book for their simplicity and heraldic subjects. They combined pictures with text. Unlike the western comic books, the text is usually placed either at the bottom or on the right side of the picture, rather than issuing from the characters' mouth in balloons.

The origin of lian huan hua in China is hard to trace. However, there are two recognized forerunners of this popular medium, the traditional drawings in Chinese classical literature or popular romantic novels and Chinese New Year's pictures (nian hua). Many story books of the Song (A.D. 960-1279) and the Yuan (A.D. 1279-1368) dynasties often had illustrations at the top of each page, including The Water Margin (Shui hu zhuan) and Romance of the Three Kingdoms (San guo zhi). During the Ming (A.D. 1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, popular romantic novels, such as The Dream of the Red Chamber (Hong lou meng) and The Romance of the Western Chamber (Xi xiang ji), often included portraits of the main characters at the beginning of the novels and sometimes at the start of each chapter. Traditional Chinese New Year's pictures are often colorful prints of stories of legendary heroes and episodes of operas. Tales such as Twenty-Four Legends of Filial Piety (Er shi si xiao) is one of the favorite subjects of New Year's pictures.

In the early 1920s, lian huan hua first appeared mainly as adaptations of Jingju (Peking Opera) and Chinese literary classics. The pictures were created mostly in line drawings, sketches, and oil-wash painting. After the People's Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949, lain huan hua became an extremely popular art form and was used to popularize new government policies and regulations. From 1951 to 1956, more than 10,000 titles, and approximately 26 billion copies were published in China.

The popularity of lian huan hua diminished in 1966 at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution (1966 to 1976); however, the publication was revived by Premier Zhou Enlai in the early 1970s with heroic stories of the time that were used as a propaganda tool. From the late 1970s to mid-1980s, lian huan hua became an important source of education and entertainment for children and adults alike. With a wide range of other reading materials appearing in China during the 1990s, lian huan hua lost its glamour. Since 2000, lian huan hua started appearing in shops and are hot collectible items in China today.

The Hamilton Library's China collection has collected more than 150 titles of lian huan hua that were published mostly during the Cultural Revolution, particularly between 1971-1976, when the publication of lian huan hua was rare and difficult at that time. For the exhibit, the China Specialist Librarian has selected some representative titles and placed them in the display cases on the 4th floor of the Asia Collection.

Visit Hamilton Library's Digital Collection to view more than 150 colorful bookcovers.

exhibit case  exhibit case

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