THE Embassy of France is holding a month-long ethnology exhibition based on the research by a French ethnologist, Jeanne Cuisinier, in Kelantan circa 1930s, at the Kelantan Public Library Corporation (KPLC) in Kota Baru.
The exhibition, titled “A French Ethnologist in Kelantan” was opened by State Human Development, Education, Higher Education, Science and Technology Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mohamed Fadzli Hassan.
Also present were Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Husaini Omar and KPLC director Ruslan Ludin. French Ambassador to Malaysia, Frederic Laplanche, in his speech said Cuisinier had spent two years in Kelantan in 1933 to study the culture and traditions of the people in the state, especially the folk dances and local cuisine.
“She brought back to France (what she had found) and to the rest of the world the knowledge about the dances of Kelantan (Mak Yong and Menora), the Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) and the culture,” he said.
Laplanche said following her research, Cuisinier had published two books in French, namely on the magical dances of Kelantan (1936) and the shadow theatre in Kelantan (1957), and had also talked about her research findings in several radio conferences in France in 1935.
Cuisinier took notes and interviewed many people, from the farmers to the Sultan, making friends among the royal family members as well as among the Sakai tribes, taking photographs and buying objects, which today can be found in museums in Paris.
Meanwhile, Prof Husaini said UMK was in discussion with the embassy to have Cuisinier's books translated into Malay and English.
“I have just spoken to the ambassador about this and if we reach an agreement on this, we will see the Malay and English versions of the books,” he said.
The exhibition, which is the second after that in Penang ended last August, began on Dec 15 and will end on Jan 15, 2019. — Bernama