Bagan and the World: Early Myanmar and Its Global Connections

Review

Aedeen Cremin, Mekong Review, Vol. 3 No. 2, Feb-April 2018.

"When the keynote speaker tells a major international conference that he is about to bite the hand that feeds him, you know you're in for a provocative debate. Many issues are aired in this slim but essential volume. Most revolve around identity and definition, questions more painfully current today than they seemed at the time of the Bagan Conference in 2012. Bagan city flourished between the ninth and fourteenth centuries CE and is today a World Heritage site: within forty-two square kilometers there are more than 3,000 Buddhist monuments, remaining from the 4,474 recorded in the fifteenth century. 

The texts are fairly dense, but all the authors make the subject matter easy to follow and all write so well that no expertise is required to follow the arguments. 

The editors have worked hard, Miksic supplying the photos and Goh the drawings for some of the papers. 

The provocative keynote speaker was the historian Michael Aung-Thwin, also an editor. His paper opens the volume and is a wonderful demolition of a basic premise of the conference – that Myanmar cities "have been examined in splendid isolation". He disposes of this "myth" with bracing erudition and congratulates the participants on their willingness to overcome Myanmar's recent intellectual isolation. If this book is anything to go by, they will succeed."

About the Publication

The archaeological site of Bagan and the kingdom which bore its name contains one of the greatest concentrations of ancient architecture and art in Asia. Much of what is visible today consists of ruins of Buddhist monasteries. While these monuments are a major tourist attraction, recent advances in archaeology and textual history have added considerable new understanding of this kingdom, which flourished between the 11th and 14th centuries. Bagan was not an isolated monastic site; its inhabitants participated actively in networks of Buddhist religious activity and commerce, abetted by the sites location near the junction where South Asia, China and Southeast Asia meet. 

This volume presents the result of recent research by scholars from around the world, including indigenous Myanmar people, whose work deserves to be known among the international community. The perspective on Myanmar's role as an integral part of the intellectual, artistic and economic framework found in this volume yields a glimpse of new themes which future studies of Asian history will no doubt explore.

Contents

PDF e-book files for this publication are available as detailed below.

Bagan and the World [Whole Publication, ISBN: 978-981-4786-65-2], by Goh Geok Yian, John N Miksic, Michael Aung-Thwin, editors 24.00 USD
Preliminary pages Download
1. Keynote: The Myth of "Splendid Isolation", by Michael Aung-Thwin, author Download
2. Analysis of Construction Technologies in Pyu Cities and Bagan, by Kyaw Lat, author 5.00 USD
3. Khraung-kaik Pitaka-taik: 16th-Century Repositories for Buddhist Scriptuers in Mrauk-U, by Mya Oo, author 5.00 USD
4. Religious Symbols as Decorations on the Sikhara of Ancient Monuments in the Late Bagan Period, by Pyiet Phyo Kyaw, author 5.00 USD
5. The Viṣhṇu on Garuḍa from the Nat Hlaung Kyaung Temple, Bagan, by Olga Desphande, Pamela Gutman, authors 5.00 USD
6. A Thousand Years before Bagan: Radiocarbon Dates and Myanmar's Ancient Pyu Cities, by Bob Hudson, author 5.00 USD
7. Ta Mok Shwe-Gu-Gyi Temple Kyaukse and Bagan, by Elizabeth Howard-Moore, Win Maung (Tampawaddy), authors 5.00 USD
8. Silver Links! Bagan–Bengal and Shadowy Metal Corridors: 9th to 13th Centuries, by Sraman Mukherjee, author 5.00 USD
9. Positioning Bagan in the Buddhist Ecumene: Myanmar's Trans-Polity Connections, by Goh Geok Yian, author 5.00 USD
10. Orthogeneity, Settlement Patterns and Earthenware Pottery Distribution in Bagan, by John N Miksic, author 5.00 USD
Index Download
Nalanda-Sriwijaya Series Download

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