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Ireland: Looking East

Edited By Christophe Gillissen

If Ireland’s relations with the Western world have been the object of numerous scientific publications, its links with the East have been neglected by research. The aim of this book is to redress that imbalance by proposing studies of various aspects of Ireland’s interactions with the East.
It is a multidisciplinary publication, dealing with some of the historical, political, religious, cultural, demographic and sociological connections between Ireland – both North and South – and the East.
The chapters, which offer novel perspectives for the field of Irish studies, are organised in a chronological sequence, from the mid-19 th century to the present. They focus on three main areas: the links between Ireland and the Asian continent, notably India, China and Turkey; its interactions with the Jewish people and the state of Israel; and its relations with Eastern European countries, in particular Poland and Lithuania.


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The Albert M. Bender Collection of Asian Art in the National Museum of Ireland 75


75 The Albert M. Bender Collection of Asian Art in the National Museum of Ireland Audrey WHITTY National Museum of Ireland The collection of Far Eastern Art, which Albert Maurice Bender (1866-1941) donated to the National Museum of Ireland from 1932 to 1936, is in artistic terms one of the most valuable of all Asian material under the Art and Industrial Division of the organization. Comprising approximately 260 objects, the most important being Tibetan-Chinese t’angka paintings and Japanese woodblock prints, this series of donations in honour of the donor’s mother, Augusta Bender, is remarkable in its generosity and has never been repeated in the history of the NMI. A detailed account of the history of the donation has been preserved in the archives of the Art and Industrial Division, NMI,1 and it is from these records that the majority of my discussions will proceed. The first suggestion that Bender was interested in developing a collection of Far Eastern Art with a view to subsequent museum acquisition came in a letter to the NMI’s Keeper of Irish Antiquities, Dr. Adolf Mahr, on 5 December 1931. It reads as follows: My dear Mahr: I am writing you at the suggestion of my friend, Dr. Walter Starkie of Trinity College. You may remember that he spoke to you regarding the project of my presenting to the museum twenty-one Tibetan pictures, in the name of my dear mother: To Remember Augusta Bender. My parents lived in Dublin for nearly thirty years, where my...

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