Selections July 2007

Here are the new additions of archaeological interest to the catalogue of Select Books, a specialised publisher and retailer of books pertaining to Southeast Asia. For ordering info, please visit the Select Books website.

041413
Historical Dictionary Of The Peoples Of The Southeast Asian Massif. Michaud, Jean. Us. 2006. 357pp. hc $172.83 (Dwelling in the highland areas of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and southwest China are hundreds of ethnic groups known as ‘tribes’ in popular literature. Together their population adds up to 80 million, more than any of the countries (bar China) they inhabit, yet in each they are designated and treated as “minorities.” They have been forced to dwell in the highlands while ‘non-tribe’ populations have occupied the more fertile lowlands. Coupled with the fact that they are so little known, this has put their way of life and cultural distinctions in jeopardy. This book offers a chronology, hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on about 200 groups, the six countries they live in, some of their leaders, and their political, economic, social, cultural and religious aspects. The introduction discusses both the diversities and similarities of the groups’ ethnicities, languages, religious practices, and customs.)

041301
Prehistory And Protohistory Of India: An Appraisal (Palaeolithic – Non-Harappan Chalcolithic Cultures) (Perspectives In Indian Art & Archaeology, No. 7). Jain, V.K.. In. 2006. 213pp. pb $12.84 (This introduction to Indian archaeology for university students presents a comprehensive overview of the tools, technologies, settlement and subsistence patterns, ecological background, distribution patterns, and the vocabulary needed for prehistoric and protohistoric study. Characteristics of the periods of early human development are noted. Sites of ongoing archaeological research in India are located. With glossary, bibliography and index.)

041141
Archaeology: Indonesian Perspective. R. P. Soejono’s Festschrift. Simanjuntak, Truman; M Hisyam et al. Id. 2006. 618pp. pb $61.14 (This volume of 58 essays is published to celebrate the distinguished life and scholarship of the 80-year-old professor of prehistory and archaeology, R. P. Soejono. Part one contains tributes to his life and teaching style, including some in Bahasa Indonesia. The six sections that follow, devoted to ongoing research in Indonesia, are on: paleogeography and paleoenvironment; paleoanthropology; prehistory; classical archaeology; Islamic and colonial archaeology; and ethnography. The final section is on general issues of cultural resource management. With black-and-white photographs and graphics.)

041297
Indonesia: Political History & Hindu & Buddhist Cultural Influences, Volumes 1 And 2. Hazra, Kanai Lal. In. 2007. 1102pp. hc $140.12 (Volume 1 is a political history of Indonesia from the Srivijaya era to the 2001 election of President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Volume 2 traces the rather different history of East Timor, followed by an exploration of the Hindu and Buddhist continuums of cultural influence. The latter takes the form of an exploration of the religious history of Indonesia, a detailed analysis of Old and Middle Javanese literature, and a discussion of Indonesian art and architecture. With bibliography and index. The author is a scholar of Pali language, literature and Buddhist studies and has written extensively on these subjects.)

041449
Thrills & Treasures Of Historical Landmarks: Sarawak. Munan, Heidi. Sg. 2007. 64pp. hc $26.70 (These 75 or so photographs or illustrations are of archaeologically significant sites, stones, monuments and buildings in Sarawak. The informative commentaries that touch on their origins, architecture and folklore shed light onto many aspects of the country’s culture and history.)

041753
Early Landscapes Of Myanmar. Moore, Elizabeth H.. Th. 2007. 271pp. pb $64.20 (The primary focus of this study is the archaeology of Myanmar, specifically in inland Upper and coastal Lower Myanmar. Separate chapters examine Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze-iron chiefdoms and the Hindu-Buddhist walled sites of the Pyu and Mon. Many of the sites have never before been described in English. The central theme is the relationship between man and the environment and the catalysts that structure landscape interaction, enabling expansion of agriculture, resource utilisation and international trade networks. Generously illustrated with site plans, site views, maps and artefacts. With bibliography and index.)

041415
Historical Dictionary Of The Philippines (2nd Edition) (Historical Dictionaries Of Asia, Oceania, And The Middle East, No. 54). Guillermo, Artemio; May Kyi Win. Us. 2005. 583pp. hc $205.33 (This greatly expanded and updated second edition of the dictionary provides more than 400 hundred entries on important persons, places, events, and institutions, as well as salient economic, social and cultural aspects. The more than four centuries of the Philippines history, including the periods of Spanish and American dominance over the country, is neatly wrapped up in an introduction, clearly laid out in a chronology, complemented with statistical data in the appendix, and concluded with a bibliography allowing further research and study.)

018476
Historical Dictionary Of Thailand (2nd Edition) (Historical Dictionaries Of Asia, No. 55). Smith, Harold E.; Gayla S. Nieminen, May Kyi Win. Us. 2005. 374pp. hc $156.57 (Thailand has experienced extremely rapid economic growth, and with that growth the increased social mobility and political democracy that comes with it. As the only Southeast Asian country to have avoided colonisation, it still boasts a functioning monarchy, remains close to its religious roots, and clings to its cultural heritage. This historical dictionary provides an overview of the country in the introduction, traces the long and complicated history in the chronology, and goes into much greater detail in the dictionary. It also presents important persons, places, institutions, and more in an easily accessible resource. Significant recent events are discussed including the 1997-98 Thai economic crisis and its effects, reforms of the national government, and the growth in political roles of both the businessman and members of the middle class. This second edition offers 64 new entries, as well as updates and revisions to older ones. In addition, the book updates basic information relative to population growth, urbanisation, and industrialisation of the economy. Includes sketch maps, 20 appendixes and an extensive bibliography.)

039693
Spreading The Dhamma: Writing, Orality And Textual Transmission In Buddhist Northern Thailand. Veidlinger, Daniel M.. Us. 2006. 259pp. hc $102.92 (Drawing on a vast array of primary sources, the author Daniel Veidlinger traces the role of written Buddhist texts in the predominantly oral milieu of the kingdom of La Na in northern Thailand from the 15th to the 19th centuries. He examines how the written word was assimilated into existing Buddhist and monastic practice in the region, and the place of writing in the cultic and ritual life of the faithful. He also considers the manuscripts themselves, the people who sponsored them and the rivalry between monks who want to maintain the oral tradition of transmission and those who support the new medium of writing. Throughout, he emphasizes the influence of the changing modes of communication on social and intellectual life. With notes, bibliography and index.)

041446
Thailand: Spirits Among Us
. Guelden, Marlene. Sg. 2007. 191pp. hc $48.15 (The complex spirit world is an immensely important dimension in the lives of nearly all Thai people. This extensively illustrated volume is an explanation of the spirit world as perceived in contemporary Thailand. Among the areas explored: tattooing; belief in ghosts of different genres; Buddhism and syncretic beliefs; social other ritual practices; spirit houses and sacred objects; mediums and spirit possession; magical monks and their powers; and the nora tradition of dance-dramas. Bibliography and index.)

041688
Dragon Sea: A Historical Mystery. Buried Treasure. An Adventure Beneath The Waves. Pope, Frank. Gb. 2007. 373pp. hc $56.20 (When Oxford University archaeologist Mensun Bound – dubbed the “Indiana Jones of the Deep” by the Discovery Channel – teamed up with a financier to salvage a sunken trove of 15th-century porcelain, it seemed a dream enterprise. The stakes were high: the Hoi An wreck lay hundreds of feet down in a typhoon-prone stretch of water off the coast of Vietnam known as the Dragon Sea. Raising its contents required saturation diving, a crew of 160, and a fleet of boats. The costs were unprecedented. But the potential rewards were equally high: Bound would revolutionize thinking about Vietnamese ceramics, and his partner would make a fortune auctioning off the pieces. Hired as the project’s manager, Frank Pope watched the tumultuous drama of the Hoi An unfold. In Dragon Sea he delivers an engrossing tale of danger, adventure, and ambition – a fascinating object lesson in what happens when scholarship and money join forces to recover lost treasure.)

041678
Buddhist Art: Form And Meaning. Pal, Pratapaditya (ed.). In. 2007. 132pp. hc $132.00 (Interpreting symbolism and examining the transmission of ideas about iconography and motifs, the specialist essays in this book collectively cover 1000 years of Buddhist art from the 1st century BCE. Roughly divided into three groups, the essays in the first group concern themselves with Buddhist iconography, including one that offers a radical interpretation of the pipal tree, the tonsure and the ushnisha on Buddha’s head. The second group explores the transmission of iconographic ideas between India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia. Through an examination of the adornments of Himalayan wrathful deities and through Ladakhi mural paintings, the third group of essays discusses the interrelationship of Buddhist arts in India and Tibet. Included in this final group is a brief photo essay of Alchi and Western Tibet.)

041646
Masterpieces Of The National Museum Of Cambodia: An Introduction To The Collection (Chefs-D’Å“uvre Du Musée National Du Cambodge: Introduction Aux Collections). Jessup, Helen Ibbitson (text). Us. 2006. 112pp. pb $69.29 (This illustrated catalogue in Khmer, English, French and Japanese presents 80 pieces of Khmer art from the National Museum of Phnom Penh. Religious carvings and statuary form the bulk of the masterpieces showcased in this introduction to the Museum’s collections. A chronology, brief overview of Khmer history, glossary and bibliography complete the catalogue.)

041299
Monuments Of India & Indianized States: The Plans Of Major Notable Temples, Tombs, Palaces And Pavilions. Bunce, Fredrick W.. In. 2007. 518pp. hc $142.97 (This volume contains short notes and architectural ground plans with some elevation drawings of major and notable temples and other edifices in India and India-influenced Southeast Asian sites. All were built between the third century BCE and 1854 CE. With glossary, drawings of comparative examples, historical sketch maps, and bibliography.)

041704
Vietnamese Style. De Hartingh, Bertrand; Anna-Craven-Smith-Milnes. Sg. 2007. 208pp. hc $72.76 (While the resplendent palaces and temples of old Vietnam recall strong Chinese influences in their architecture and the colonial buildings of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City remind us of Paris, the vernacular buildings in the villages have largely retained their Vietnamese identity in the use of wooden frameworks, mat walls and packed earth for floors. Two authorities on Vietnam art and history explore the evolution of Vietnamese architecture and design from pre-colonial to modern times. Three types of architecture found in Vietname are examined – vernacular, French colonial and modern. Many examples of each type of architecture are shown in beautiful colour photographs, and there is emphasis on how some houses and buildings have been successfully converted into exquisite living spaces or adapted for other modern uses. Vietnam style today, which is born from a merging of indigenous, Chinese, and French artistic influences, can best be seen in modern Vietnamese art and architecture. The final chapters of this book showcase contemporary Vietnamese arts and crafts such as furniture, basketry, embroidery and lacquerware.)

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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