A ‘Disneyland’ version of Angkor in China

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Replica Angkor Wat in Nanning City, Guanxi, China. Source: CNN, 13 Sept 2018

via Cambodia News English.com, 13 September 2018: Angkor What? A new tourist attraction in Nanning City in Guangxi, China, contains replicas of the famous architecture of Angkor. The news article below doesn’t make it clear, but is seems that this is part of an ASEAN theme park featuring replicas of other famous locations in Southeast Asia. I wonder what the reactions from Cambodia are. For context, a group in India had announced in 2015 that they were going to build a Hindu temple in Bihar in the style of Angkor Wat (see also here). This idea was not well-received in Cambodia (see also here, here, here, here and here).

Replica Angkor Wat in Nanning City, Guanxi, China. Source: Cambodia News English, 13 Sept 2018

Replica Angkor Wat in Nanning City, Guanxi, China. Source: Cambodia News English, 13 Sept 2018

Nanning, in Guangxi Province,China now has a new attraction; an Angkor Wat complex. Visitors can’t tell whether they are in Cambodia or Nanning.

In Nanning City, Guangxi, a paradise is known as the Cambodian and Chinese cottage version of the “Angkor Wat” complex. The imitation is fascinating, and the tourists are said to be unclear in Cambodia or Nanning.

Source: Angkor What? Faux Temple Complex Opens in China

China helps others restore heritage sites

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via The Nation, 12 September 2018: The team from China marks to completion of restorations to the Ta Keo temple in Angkor.

Construction of Ta Keo as a “state temple” began during the reign of Jayavarman V, a ruler during the Khmer Empire (802-1431). Covering 46,000 square meters, the site is generally considered one of the most magnificent temple-mountains in Angkor.The term temple-mountain refers to the style for the construction of state temples during the Khmer Empire, which was influenced by Indian temple architecture.”It’s important evidence showing the transition of architectural styles from the early-stage Angkor sites with typical Hindu characters from India to the later ones featuring local Buddhism,” Yuan said.Ta Keo is also believed to be the first temple built entirely from sandstone in the Khmer Empire.However, when the academy started restoration work, experts had to sift through tens of thousands of fallen stones and largely collapsed halls, corridors and turrets.”We had to find the right stones in the rubble and put them back,” Yuan said. “Everything has to be concise. But restoration is far more than putting the fallen stones back. The bulk of the work is done through detailed research before the engineers start.”

Source: China helps others restore heritage sites

Categories: Angkor Cambodia

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Where China Meets Pyu: The “Tharaba Gate” Bilingual Inscriptions at Pagan

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Tharabha Gate, Bagan

via the Tea Circle, 30 July 2018: An article by independent scholar Liu Yun on an Chinese-Pyu inscription found at the Tharaba Gate.

Tharabha Gate, Bagan

Tharabha Gate, Bagan

Currently held in Pagan Archaeological Museum, the illegible Pyu inscription of an “unknown date” was found near the Tharaba gate which, located to the east of Pagan, is the only surviving gate of the old city. Sino-Burmese historians Taw Sein Ko (1916) and Chen Yi-sein (1960) argued, based on their pioneer studies of the much defaced Chinese epigraphy on the reverse side of the Pyu scripts, that the bilingual stone dates back to the late 13th century when the Mongol campaigns of the Pagan Kingdom were launched by ambitious Kublai Khan (r. 1271-1294) and a subsequent fragile tributary relationship was established. Strikingly different from the traditional way of writing vertically from top to bottom, the Chinese texts at Pagan run horizontally from left to right, in a Burmanized way.

Source: Where China Meets Pyu: The “Tharaba Gate” Bilingual Inscriptions at Pagan – Tea Circle

Hominin occupation in China from 2.1 million years ago

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Of potential interest for Southeast Asia: 2.1 million-year-old stone tools discovered in China pushes back the dates of hominins outside of Africa by several hundred thousand years. The term “Southern Chinese Loess Plateau” may be a little confusing: it’s not in Southern China, and the area of discovery sits between the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers.

Hominin occupation of the Chinese Loess Plateau since about 2.1 million years ago
Zhu et. al
Nature
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0299-4

Considerable attention has been paid to dating the earliest appearance of hominins outside Africa. The earliest skeletal and artefactual evidence for the genus Homo in Asia currently comes from Dmanisi, Georgia, and is dated to approximately 1.77–1.85 million years ago (Ma)1. Two incisors that may belong to Homo erectus come from Yuanmou, south China, and are dated to 1.7 Ma2; the next-oldest evidence is an H. erectus cranium from Lantian (Gongwangling)—which has recently been dated to 1.63 Ma3—and the earliest hominin fossils from the Sangiran dome in Java, which are dated to about 1.5–1.6 Ma4. Artefacts from Majuangou III5 and Shangshazui6 in the Nihewan basin, north China, have also been dated to 1.6–1.7 Ma. Here we report an Early Pleistocene and largely continuous artefact sequence from Shangchen, which is a newly discovered Palaeolithic locality of the southern Chinese Loess Plateau, near Gongwangling in Lantian county. The site contains 17 artefact layers that extend from palaeosol S15—dated to approximately 1.26 Ma—to loess L28, which we date to about 2.12 Ma. This discovery implies that hominins left Africa earlier than indicated by the evidence from Dmanisi.

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How China uses shipwrecks to weave a history of seaborne trade that backs up its construction of a new maritime Silk Road

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via South China Morning Post, 29 November 2017: The Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage is currently underway in Hong Kong, with many participants from Southeast Asia. This report from the SCMP focuses on China’s emerging role as a leader in maritime archaeology and its potential implications for its power.

This week, more than 100 of the region’s leading marine archaeologists from 23 nations convened at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum for the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. At the opening reception on Monday night, the meteoric rise of China as a force in maritime archaeology was one of the popular topics of discussion.

Source: How China uses shipwrecks to weave a history of seaborne trade that backs up its construction of a new maritime Silk Road

Cambodia tourism to get Chinese help

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vis Khmer Times, 17 July 2017: China has unveiled a plan to promote tourism in Siem Reap, in response to the increased number of tourists to Angkor. Chinese tourists have increased dramatically in recent years, due to warm relations betweem Cambodia and China.

China revealed plan to help Cambodia by establishing a comprehensive tourism plan for Siem Reap province.

Source: Cambodia tourism to get Chinese help – Khmer Times

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Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Archaeology of Early Chinese Trade Ceramics in the Western Indian Ocean at Durham University

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Of possible interest to some readers, a postdoc position on Chinese ceramics at Durham University

Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Archaeology of Early Chinese Trade Ceramics in the Western Indian Ocean

The purpose of this 23-month fixed term full-time PDRA post is to work alongside the Head of the Department of Archaeology (Prof. Robin Skeates), our Senior Lecturer/Associate Lecturer (Dr. Derek Kennet) and other colleagues in Durham’s Department of Archaeology in developing, undertaking and publishing collaborative research with the Palace Museum in Beijing on the archaeology of early Chinese trade ceramics. Within the contemporary context of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative, a particular focus will be on their classification, their production at kiln sites in China, their overland trade in Iran, and their maritime trade in the western Indian Ocean from the 8th to the 19th centuries.

Source: Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Archaeology of Early Chinese Trade Ceramics in the Western Indian Ocean at Durham University

Thatbyinnyu temple to start restoration in 2018

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Myanmar Times, 01 June 2017

The preliminary restoration of the damaged Thatbyinnyu temple in Bagan is expected to begin in 2018 with an initial fund of US$1 million from the Chinese government.

The Chinese government granted the fund to implement preliminary emergency restoration of damaged pagodas in Bagan from the earthquake last year.

Thatbyinnyu is one of the worst hit in the first priority group which includes 36 pagodas.

Source: Thatbyinnyu temple to start restoration in 2018