By Colin Mason
The peoples of Asia now make up greater than 1/2 the world's inhabitants. they're more and more well-educated, and profitable in each region of contemporary alternate and know-how. Their effect within the remainder of the realm can be turning into larger. Colin Mason presents a readable and transparent creation to their historical past and traditions, from prehistory correct as much as the current day. This completely revised, up-to-date and multiplied new version comprises the significant adjustments and additions made beneficial by way of the fast-changing scene in Asia, really China's expanding prominence in global affairs. There are new chapters on Afghanistan and Taiwan, and on global struggle and its importance in Asia, in addition to wide transforming of the chapters at the international locations of South Asia. Maps and illustrations now additionally improve the textual content all through, making this the fundamental advisor to the historical past of a desirable continent and its peoples.
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Extra info for A Short History of Asia, Second Edition
The epics also play a much greater part in the lives of ordinary people in at least six Asian countries than their equivalents do among Westerners. Few people in most of mainland south-east Asia and in many parts of Indonesia, as well as the Indian continent itself, would fail to hear stories from these epics from early childhood. Ceremonies and carnivals, which often involve whole communities, annually celebrate the victory of Rama over Ravana. Art, especially painting, sculpture and the shadow theatre, uses themes from the epics extensively, as also do much of literature and drama.
Such was the situation when the Portuguese arrived in Colombo in 1505, attracted by the trade in cinnamon and pepper, which were Sinhalese royal monopolies. The lack of any central authority over the island gave the Portuguese the opportunity for intrigue, and eventually conquest. They had taken over the country by the end of the century, except for the fabled kingdom of Kandy deep in the jungle-clad hills of central Sri Lanka, jungles Indian Culture: Hinduism and Buddhism 31 that were later to give place to tea plantations.
At the time of the new state’s greatest financial need, when it had been deserted by the Soviet Union, an option would have been to sell the immensely valuable solid gold and gem-encrusted artefacts in the Ming tombs near Beijing. But this was not done. Instead the tombs were carefully restored and maintained, all their treasures still in place. The durability and individuality of Chinese culture are due to a number of factors, of which geography is among the more important. China, to the east of the mountain spine of central Asia, does not have the immediate vulnerability of the north Indian plain.
A Short History of Asia, Second Edition by Colin Mason