Selections, January 2007

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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.

Cartography Of The East Indian Islands, The (Insulae Indiae Orientalis). Parry, David E.. Gb. 2005. 241pp. hc $199.50 (This magnificent volume is a rich treasure-house for anyone interested in maps of Southeast Asia! Some 500 maps are illustrated in colour. The scholarly text discusses the background, equipment and work of cartographers at various periods since Classical times. Although inter-Asian trade with the “Spice Islands” took place much earlier, cartography seems to have developed only after the involvement of Europe-based trading and travel. Maps were of urgent importance to empire-builders, traders, investors, and mariners seeking the incredibly lucrative cloves and nutmegs to be found in the Molucca Islands. The history of East Indies maps and mapmakers is traced up to the full establishment of scientific cartography in the early 19th century. With references and index.)

Emergence Of Buddhism, The. Kinnard, Jacob N. Us. 2006. 165pp. hc $80.35 (This book for college students presents the history of one of the world’s most ancient religions. Topical essays explore the origins of Buddhism, the social and philosophical context in which it was born, Buddha himself, his followers, the main Buddhist precepts, and the spread of the religion. With chronology, biographical sketches of key personalities, glossary, bibliography, index and notes on primary documents.)

039622 Eternal Army, The: The Terracotta Soldiers Of The First Chinese Emperor. Ciarla, Roberto. It. 2005. 287pp. hc $97.90 (This is indeed a remarkable volume on a remarkable subject. Internationally recognised scholars and photographers come together in presenting the context, nature and purpose of the vast array of terracotta figures and objects found in 1974 in the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi (259-206 BCE), located in Lintong, Shaanxi Province. The first Emperor’s career is set into context by articles on: The archaeology, early history, prehistory, legends and rituals of China; the reform and political events which led up to his imposition of Codes of Law; and the schools of philosophy which had developed in the earlier Warring States period. The second part explores the vast tomb itself. Its features, construction, the techniques involved in the creation of individually different figures and in their present-day care are all discussed, calling on expertise from many disciplines. Hundreds of outstanding photographs convey the impact and nature of the incredible creation we call The Terracotta Army. With glossary, bibliography and index.)

My So’n Relics. Ngo Van Doanh. Vt. 2005. 267pp. pb $31.50 (The My So’n temple complex in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam was for a thousand years central in national and Buddhist development. Past and recent wars and natural forces have reduced the temples and towers to ruins. The site became a UNESCO Word Heritage Site in 1999 and much archaeological and restoration work has taken place since the 1970s. This informative pocket book offers structural and historical details about the buildings and their significance and translations of some inscriptions. With black-and-white illustrations glossary and book list.)

Allen’s Authentication Of Ancient Chinese Ceramics. Allen, Anthony J.. Nz. 2006. 340pp. hc $273.00 (Using his 23 years of experience in collecting and dealing in Chinese antiques, and offended by the fakes that are passed off as the genuine article, Anthony Allen has produced yet another book to help novices authenticate and protect their investments. This time, he focuses on the authentication of Chinese ceramics dating from the Neolithic period to the Ming dynasty, with 776 colour illustrations of both genuine and fake works. Outspoken, even abrasive, his words of caution to the new collector may not sit well with some dealers of these antiquities or with other specialists.)

Burmese Design And Architecture (Reprinted 2006). Falconer, John et al (text); Luca Tettoni (photo). Sg. 2000. 224pp. pb $60.90 (This bestselling book on Myanmar architecture, art and design from 2000 is now reissued in paperback. Expert essays and glorious colour photographs examine the architecture of both secular and non-secular buildings across the length and breadth of the country as well as Burmese arts and crafts, including religious art, painting, lacquerware, ceramics and textiles.)

Adventures Of The Treasure Fleet: China Discovers The World. Bowler, Ann Martin (text); Lk Tay-Audouard (illus). Us. 2006. 33pp. hc $31.50 (Here is the incredible story of seven epic voyages undertaken by the Chinese 600 years ago, led by the larger-than-life commander, Admiral Zheng He. Over 28 years, he and more than 300 gigantic, brightly painted ships of his “treasure fleet” sailed across the South China Sea, to the Indian Ocean and beyond to the distant coast of Africa. The Chinese were amazed to see the palaces, temples and the ways of life in the foreign lands. They befriended kings, charted unknown oceans, and were awestruck by Africa’s exotic animals. At each port, China’s best porcelains and silk were traded for pearls, precious stones, herbs and medicines. They brought treasures from dignitaries and faraway lands to pay tribute to the powerful emperor of China’s Ming Dynasty. In this beautifully illustrated book, the story of Zheng He and his voyages is written in a very readable style and in some detail for youngsters aged nine years and older.)