Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review, Resources

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia

BY THOMAS DAVID DUBOIS CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYPRESS, 2011 272 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1107008090, HARDBACK Undoubtedly, the vast majority of surviving art produced in both the Western world and Asia in the past millennia has been religious in subject. From an art historical perspective, the significant role religions play in shaping the creative visual expression of cultures is obvious. Historians more often tend to view history from political, economic, military, and, in recent years, social perspec...

Feature Article

Water, Wood, and Women: The Persistence of Ancient Traditions in Modern India

In the state of Bengal, in northeastern India, the annual September-October harvest and fertility festival called Durga Pūjā (“offering to Durga”) generates a massive half-year effort of preparation for its nine nights (Navaratri) of celebrations.1 Durga is a three-eyed, ten-armed, buffalo-demon destroying Hindu warrior goddess. Durga is constructed in wildly varied forms from wooden armatures wrapped in straw and covered with unfired clay dug from the bed of the sacred Hoohley River (a ...

Book Review, Columns

The Japanese Garden: Gateway to the Human Spirit

The majority of books on the subject of Japanese gardens are coffee-table-size instruction manuals. These provide some cursory historical background, but mostly they elucidate fundamental principles of design in combination with copious and beautiful color photographs of famous ancient and modern examples by which to inspire the courageous gardener. To the untutored, Japanese gardens might seem, based on these sources, to be all of a kind, piecing together requisite features of water holes, ston...

Book Review, Resources

Japanese Woodblock Printing

Japanese woodblock prints have long been among the most popular and accessible of art forms, attracting a western audience for more than 150 years, even before Commander Matthew Perry brought his fleet to the Edo harbor in 1853 and, pointing US guns at the unprotected city, forced Japan to sign the Treaty of Friendship and open its borders to outside contact and trade. By that time, woodblock printing arts had been perfected for over 150 years, but while popularly collected, even prized, had bee...