Selections, October 2007

A selection of archaeology-related books, new 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.

042271
Archaeology Of Asia. Stark, Miriam, T. (ed.). Gb. 2006. 364pp. pb $71.64 (This introduction to the archaeology of Asia, written for the undergraduate, focuses on case studies from the region’s last 10,000 years of history. Comprising 15 chapters written by some of the world’s foremost Asia archaeologists, this book sheds light on many of the most compelling aspects of Asian archaeology, from the earliest plant and animal domestication to the emergence of states and empires from Pakistan to North China. In particular, the contributors explore issues of cross-cultural significance, such as migration, ethnicity, urbanism, and technology, challenging readers to think beyond national and regional boundaries. In doing so, they draw on original research data and synthesize work previously unavailable to western readers. Index.)

042105
Asia-Pacific: A History Of Empire And Conflict. Crump, Thomas. Gb. 2007. 383pp. hc $45.00 (This book is a modern history of the countries involved in World War II as combatants and of those that emerged at the end as independent sovereign states. Entire chapters are devoted to China, the two Koreas, Thailand, Cambodia and Indochina, Malaysia and Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Timor Leste. This history by geography is supplemented by other chapters that cover the Russian Far East, migration, security issues such as piracy and terrorism, the US Pacific empire, Australia, and the future of the Asia-Pacific region. With maps, bibliography and index.)

041800
Borneo, Celebes, Aru. Wallace, Alfred Russel. Gb. 2007. 112pp. pb $14.93 (Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was an explorer, a naturalist, a geographer, and a political commentator. He spent 1854-1862 wandering across what is now Malaysia and Indonesia. From this journey sprang his most celebrated book, The Malay Archipelago. This pocketbook contains six extracts from this work, which see him, amongst other activities, proposing the idea of the famed Wallace Line, hunting Orang-Utans (downright barbaric by today’s standards), and meeting the Hill Dayaks. )

042326
A Century In Asia: The History Of The École Française d’Éxtrême-Orient, 1898-2006. Clémentin-Ojha, Catherine; Pierre-Yves Manguin. Sg. 2007. 236pp. pb $48.15 (The École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), a highly respected institution for historical and archaeological study and resource material, originated in Saigon in 1898, is now directed from Paris and there are 14 museum/library/study centres in Asia. This celebratory volume, now in English, marked the centenary of EFEO and offers details of its considerable achievements, vicissitudes and significant personalities. The impressive illustrations are from many archival sources.)

041594
Condensed Reality: A Study Of Material Culture. Ter Keurs, Pieter. Nl. 2006. 240pp. pb $86.00 (Since the 1980s, the study of material culture has become a central focus in cultural anthropology. This book explores the philosophical roots and reviews recent studies of this anthropological discourse. Based on his own experience of working intensively with museum collections throughout the world, Pieter ter Keurs, curator at the National Museum of Ethnology at Leiden, proposes a new approach towards material objects. It is now generally acknowledged that material objects are dynamic entities in culture. In this study the author suggests that this flexible approach towards form and meaning is, however, not useful without fully recognizing the materiality of the object. He argues that the inherent static nature of matter is crucial in shaping cultural realities. Objects are best seen as items in which reality is materialized, or condensed. Apart from condensation he looks at the opposite process of evaporation, namely of extracting meanings from their material bases when viewed in different contexts. The concrete ethnographic examples illustrating this model come from Papua New Guinea (the Siassi Islands) and Indonesia (Enggano Island). Bibliography and index.)

040697
Sultans, Shamans & Saints: Islam And Muslims In Southeast Asia. Federspiel, Howard M.. Us. 2007. 297pp. hc $104.90 (By the 14th century the Islamic faith had spread via maritime trade routes to Southeast Asia where, over the next 700 years, it would have a continuing influence on political life, social customs, and the development of the arts. Sultans, Shamans, and Saints looks at Islam in Southeast Asia during four major eras: its arrival (to 1300), the first flowering of Islamic identity (1300-1800), the era of imperialism (1800-1945), and the era of independent nation-states (1945-2000). Ranging across the humanities and social sciences, this balanced and accessible work emphasizes the historical development of Southeast Asia’s accommodation of Islam and the creation of its distinctive regional character. Each chapter opens with a general background summary that places events in the greater Asian/Southeast Asian context, followed by an overview of prominent ethnic groups, political events, customs and cultures, religious factors, and art forms. With maps, bibliography and index.)

041302
India’s Perception Through Chinese Travellers. Panth, Ravindra et al (eds.). In. 2007. 124pp. hc $32.00 (These 25 conference papers (three in Hindi) are from the 2004 Nalanda seminars which focused on Chinese pilgrims who, in the 6th and 7th CE, came to the sites of the Buddha’s birth and life. Socio-cultural, monastic, political and religious aspects of these pilgrimages and their impacts are discussed from different scholarly points of view.)

041280
The Wonder That Is Sanskrit (Reprinted 2006). Sampad & Vijay. In. 2002. 210pp. pb $15.00 (The significance and beauty of Sanskrit and the treasure houses of literature and thought, which open up to those who can use it, is the theme which underlies this introduction to the language. Among other topics, the chapters explore its grammar, its place as India’s national language, its use in arts, sciences and daily life, and in the expression of spirituality. With glossary, bibliography and index).

039766
The Java That Never Was: Academic Theories And Political Practices (SEAsian Dynamics V.2). Antlov, Hans; Jorgen Hellman (Eds). De. 2005. 194pp. pb $49.00 (This book is about how cultures and societies on Java over the past century have been perceived and socially constructed by scholars inside and outside of Indonesia. It is a reflective book; how, on the one hand, academic theories have shaped our view of Java and, on the other hand, how the study of Java has influenced theoretical developments within a number of disciplines, including anthropology, development studies, religious studies, political science, gender studies, and the arts. Glossary and index.)

039071
Women Of The Kakawin World: Marriage And Sexuality In The Indic Courts Of Java And Bali. Creese, Helen. Us. 2004. 357pp. pb $71.05 (For more than a millennium, the poets of the Indic courts of Java and Bali composed epic kakawin poems in which they recreated the court environment where they and their royal patrons lived. This poetry is a rich source for the cultural and social history of Indonesia. Drawing on the epic kakawin poetry tradition, this book examines the institutions of courtship and marriage in the Indic courts. The court-sponsored epic works that have survived allow us to examine the idealized images of women and sexuality and the perpetuation of gender ideologies in pre-Islamic Java and in Bali, which in turn provides insights into a number of cultural practices. Includes glossary, notes, bibliography and index.)

040407
Genes, People, And Borneo History: A Review (Borneo Research Council Occ. Pap. No. 2). Baer, A.. My. 2005. 42pp. pb $28.55 (An up-to-date overview essay on the genetic/cultural heritage of Borneo, which is seen to be an understudied area of scientific/demographic study. Pointers are given to possible areas for future research on the immense linguistic and ethnic diversity of Borneo’s present and past populations.)

040993
Cult, Culture And Authority: Princess Lieu Hanh In Vietnamese History. Dror, Olga. Us. 2007. 260pp. hc $95.70 (Princess Lieu Hanh, often called the Mother of the Vietnamese people by her followers, is one of the most prominent goddesses in Vietnamese popular religion. First emerging some 400 years ago as a local sect appealing to women, the princess’ cult has since transcended its geographical and gender boundaries and remains vibrant today. Who was this revered deity? This book traces Lieu Hanh’s cult from its ostensible appearance in the 16th century to its present-day prominence in North Vietnam and considers it from a broad range of perspectives, as religion and literature and in the context of politics and society. Bibliography and index.)

042264
Asian Art: An Anthology. Brown, Rebecca M. (ed.). Gb. 2006. 519pp. pb $96.25 (This unprecedented volume offers a portrait of the rich artistic traditions in China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia. It is the first comprehensive anthology of important primary documents, from inscriptions and imperial decrees to travellers’ accounts and writings by artists. It pairs previously published, classic essays with contemporary scholarship to produce fresh perspectives on Asian art. Across time periods, media, cultural contexts, and geography, this volume traces several thousand years of Asian art, from the terracotta armies of the First Emperor of Qin to late 20th century installation art. Useful for undergraduates and their instructors, the material in this book is arranged in chronological order and features accessible introductions for each chapter. Index.)

041755
Chola: Sacred Bronzes Of Southern India. Dehejia, Vidya et al. Gb. 2006. 157pp. hc $123.05 (Between the 8th and 13th centuries, the Chola dynasty was the dominant cultural, artistic, religious and political force in southern India. The bronze representations of Shiva and other Hindu gods are the most spectacular objects that they created. This extensively illustrated book is the catalogue of an exhibition which ran from November 2006 to February 2007 at the Royal Academy of Arts. Over 40 of these exquisite objects were shown. Full-page illustrations and lavish details of the works reveal the beauty of these sensational and technically brilliant cast bronzes. Three essays by leading experts explore how and why these bronzes came to be made and the role they played within Hinduism and Chola culture.)

041167
The Pre-Angkorian Temple Of Preah Ko: A Sourcebook Of The History, Construction And Ornamentation Of The Preah Ko Style. Falser, Michael S.. Th. 2006. 187pp. pb $96.00 (The temple of Preah Ko, built in the 9th century AD, is undoubtedly one of the most important temple structures in Khmer architecture. This temple gave a whole range of 9th century temples their stylistic group name, the ‘Preah Ko-Style’. Despite its importance, Preah Ko has rarely been acknowledged in detail in academic literature. With this publication, Austrian art historian and architect Michael Falser aims to analyse Preah Ko in its historical, archaeological, architectural, stylistic and contemporary social and religious contexts and to understand the whole complex as a ‘historical palimpsest’. He also presents the first-ever hypothetical reconstruction of the whole site, as well as of the temple façades and their ornamentation. Maps, numerous illustrations and plates accompany this study.)

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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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