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The Dunhuang Cave of the Zhai Family
The cave-temple complex popularly known as the Dunhuang caves is the world’s largest extant repository of Tang Buddhist art. Among the best preserved of the Dunhuang caves is the Zhai Family Cave, built in 642. It is this remarkable cave-temple that forms the focus of Ning Qiang’s cross-disciplinary exploration of the interrelationship of art, religion, and politics during the Tang. The author combines, in his careful examination of the paintings and sculptures found there, the historical study of pictures with the pictorial study of history. By employing this two-fold approach, he is able to refer to textual evidence in interpreting the formal features of the cave temple paintings and to employ visual details to fill in the historical gaps inevitably left by text-oriented scholars. The result is a comprehensive analysis of the visual culture of the period and a vivid description of social life in medieval China. The original Zhai Family Cave pictures were painted over in the tenth century and remained hidden until the early 1940s. Once exposed, the early artwork appeared fresh and colorful in comparison with other Tang paintings at Dunhuang. The relatively fine condition of the Zhai Family Cave is crucial to our understanding of the original pictorial program found there and offers a unique opportunity to investigate the visual details of the original paintings and sculptures in the cave. At the same time, the remaining traces of reconstruction and redecoration provide a new perspective on how, for over three centuries, a wealthy Chinese clan used its familial cave as a political showcase.
Psychic Distance in Comparative Aesthetics
Artistic Detachment in Japan and the West takes up the notion of artistic detachment, or psychic distance, as an intercultural motif for East-West comparative aesthetics. The work begins with an overview of aesthetic theory in the West from the eighteenth-century empiricists to contemporary aesthetics and concludes with a survey of various critiques of psychic distance. Throughout, the author takes a highly innovative approach by juxtaposing Western aesthetic theory against Eastern (primarily Japanese) aesthetic theory. Weaving between cultures and time periods, the author focuses on a remarkably wide range of theories: in the West, the Kantian notion of disinterested contemplation, Heidegger's Gelassenheit, semiotics, and pragmatism; in Japan, Zeami's notion of riken no ken, the Kyoto School's intepretation of nothingness, D. T. Suzuki's analysis of the function of no-mind, and the writings of Kuki Shuzo on Buddhist detachment. "Portrait of the artist" fiction by such writers as Henry James, James Joyce, Mori Ogai, and Natsume Soseki demonstrates how the main theme of detachment is expressed in literary traditions. The role of sympathy or pragmatism in relation to disinterest is examined, suggesting conflicts within or challenges to the notion of detachment. Researchers and students in Eastern and Western areas of study, including philosophers and religionists, as well as literary and cultural critics, will deem this work an invaluable contribution to cross-cultural philosophy and literary studies.
With the advent of computers and the rise of East Asian economies, the complicated character-based writing systems of East Asia have reached a stage of crisis that may be described as truly millennial in scope and implications. In what is perhaps the most wide-ranging critique of the sinographic script ever written, William C. Hannas assesses the usefulness of Chinese character-based writing in East Asia today.
Vol. 39 (2000) through current issue
Asian Perspectivesis the leading archaeological journal devoted to the prehistory of Asia and the Pacific region. In addition to archaeology, it features articles and book reviews on ethnoarchaeology, palaeonanthropology, physical anthropology, and ethnography of interest and use to the prehistorian. International specialists contribute regional reports summarizing current research and fieldwork, and present topical reports of significant sites.
From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai`i
Asian Settler Colonialism is a groundbreaking collection that examines the roles of Asians as settlers in Hawai‘i. Contributors from various fields and disciplines investigate aspects of Asian settler colonialism to illustrate its diverse operations and impact on Native Hawaiians. Essays range from analyses of Japanese, Korean, and Filipino settlement to accounts of Asian settler practices in the legislature, the prison industrial complex, and the U.S. military to critiques of Asian settlers’ claims to Hawai‘i in literature and the visual arts.
Vol. 16, no. 2 (1999) through current issue
Asian Theatre Journal is dedicated to the performing arts of Asia, focusing upon both traditional and modern theatrical forms. It aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge throughout the international theatrical community for the mutual benefit of all interested scholars and artists. It offers descriptive and analytical articles, original plays and play translations, book and audiovisual reviews, and reports of current theatrical activities in Asia.
A Guide to Understanding the Universe
When observing the sky on a very clear, dark night, the soft glow of the Milky Way with its thousands of stars can be seen with the naked eye. Over the centuries since Galileo Galilei first pointed a telescope at the galaxy in 1609, this awe-inspiring yet easily visible panorama was our cosmos, our celestial world. With each new scientific discovery, however, this cosmos has grown dramatically, increasing rapidly over the last several decades. As we look deeper into space, the earlier phases of the cosmos are unveiled to us, but we know that even with the largest telescopes, we will see only a tiny fraction of the vast expanse of the Universe. In Astronomy's Limitless Journey, astrophysicist Günther Hasinger takes the reader on a journey to the far reaches of the Universe—an exciting time travel that begins with the incredibly hot fireball of the Big Bang roughly 13.8 billion years ago and ends in distant aeons with its cold, dark demise. In between lie the times in which extensive structures, galaxies, stars, and planets form. As the field of astrophysics and cosmology experiences a "golden age" due to larger telescopes, faster computers, and more sophisticated algorithms, fundamental changes are taking place in our understanding of space and time and of the origin and future of our Universe. Hasinger thoroughly explains these fascinating revelations and describes the methods utilized in modern astrophysics. He cautions, however, that the boundaries between knowledge and ignorance shift constantly; where our knowledge is so incomplete such that we can only speculate, the journey becomes shaky. Indeed, every new discovery opens a further door to the unknown and with every answered question, we discover more locked doors still to be opened.
Ethnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands
Crossing disciplinary boundaries, At Home and in the Field is an anthology of twenty-first century ethnographic research and writing about the global worlds of home and disjuncture in Asia and the Pacific Islands. These stories reveal novel insights into the serendipitous nature of fieldwork. Unique in its inclusion of “homework”—ethnography that directly engages with issues and identities in which the ethnographer finds political solidarity and belonging in fields at home—the anthology contributes to growing trends that complicate the distinction between “ insiders” and “outsiders.” The obligations that fieldwork engenders among researchers and local communities are exemplified by contributors who are often socially engaged with the peoples and places they work. In its focus on Asia and the Pacific Islands, the collection offers ethnographic updates on topics that range from ritual money burning in China to the militarization of Hawai‘i to the social role of text messages in identifying marriage partners in Vanuatu to the cultural power of robots in Japan. Thought provoking, sometimes humorous, these cultural encounters resonate with readers and provide valuable talking points for exploring the human diversity that makes the study of ourselves and each other simultaneously rewarding and challenging.
Social Relations and the Aesthetics of Emotion in Sri Lankan Monastic Culture
An idealized view of the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk might be described according to the doctrinal demand for emotional detachment and, ultimately, the cessation of all desire. Yet monks are also enjoined to practice compassion, a powerful emotion and equally lofty ideal, and live with every other human feeling—love, hate, jealousy, ambition—while relating to other monks and the lay community. In this important ethnography of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Jeffrey Samuels takes an unprecedented look at how emotion determines and influences the commitments that laypeople and monastics make to each other and to the Buddhist religion in general. By focusing on "multimoment" histories, Samuels highlights specific junctures in which ideas about recruitment, vocation, patronage, and institution-building are dynamically negotiated and refined. Positing a nexus between aesthetics and affect, he illustrates not only how aesthetic responses trigger certain emotions, but also how personal and shared emotions, at the local level, shape notions of beauty. Samuels uses the voices of informants to reveal the delicately negotiated character of lay-monastic relations and temple management. In the fields of religion and Buddhist studies there has been a growing recognition of the need to examine affective dimensions of religion. His work breaks new ground in that it answers questions about Buddhist emotions and the constitutive roles they play in social life and religious practice through a close, poignant look at small-scale temple and social networks. Throughout, Samuels makes the case for the need to account for emotions in making intelligible the behavior of religious participants and practitioners. Drawing on a decade of fieldwork that includes numerous interviews as well as an examination of written and visual sources, Attracting the Heart conveys the manner in which Buddhists describe their own histories, experiences, and encounters as they relate to the formation and continuation of Buddhist monastic culture in contemporary Sri Lanka. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of religion, Buddhist studies, anthropology, and South and Southeast Asian studies.
Transnational Film Culture in Imperial Japan
Japanese film crews were shooting feature-length movies in China nearly three decades before Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950) reputedly put Japan on the international film map. Although few would readily associate Japan’s film industry with either imperialism or the domination of world markets, the country’s film culture developed in lock step with its empire, which, at its peak in 1943, included territories from the Aleutians to Australia and from Midway Island to India. With each military victory, Japanese film culture’s sphere of influence expanded deeper into Asia, first clashing with and ultimately replacing Hollywood as the main source of news, education, and entertainment for millions. The Attractive Empire is the first comprehensive examination of the attitudes, ideals, and myths of Japanese imperialism as represented in its film culture. In this stimulating new study, Michael Baskett traces the development of Japanese film culture from its unapologetically colonial roots in Taiwan and Korea to less obvious manifestations of empire such as the semicolonial markets of Manchuria and Shanghai and occupied territories in Southeast Asia. Drawing on a wide range of previously untapped primary sources from public and private archives across Asia, Europe, and the United States, Baskett provides close readings of individual films and trenchant analyses of Japanese assumptions about Asian ethnic and cultural differences. Finally, he highlights the place of empire in the struggle at legislative, distribution, and exhibition levels to wrest the "hearts and minds" of Asian film audiences from Hollywood in the 1930s as well as in Japan’s attempts to maintain that hegemony during its alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.