Asian History, General
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Tibetan Sacred Dance: A Journey Into the Religious and Folk Traditions
Tibetan Sacred Dance
A Journey Into the Religious and Folk Traditions
Paperback      ISBN: 0892819189

The first book to explore the significance and symbolism of the sacred and secular ritual dances of Tibetan Buddhism.

- Lavishly illustrated with color and rare historic photographs depicting the dances, costumes, and masks.

- Looks at both sacred (cham) and folk (achi lhamo) forms and their role in the development, practice, and culture of Tibetan Buddhism.

From the time Buddhism entered the mythical land of the snows, Tibetans have expressed their spiritual devotion and celebrated their culture with dance. Only since the diaspora of the Tibetan people have outsiders witnessed these performances, and when they do, no one explains why these dances exist and what they really mean. Ellen Pearlman, who studied with Lobsang Samten, the ritual dance master of the Dalai Lama's Namgyal monastery in India, set out to discover the meaning behind these practices. She found the story of the indigenous shamanistic Bon religion being superseded by Buddhism--a story full of dangerous and illicit liaisons, brilliant visions, secret teachings, betrayals, and unrevealed yogic practices.

Pearlman examines the four lineages that developed sacred cham--the secret ritual dances of Tibet's Buddhist monks--and achi lhamo storytelling folk dance and opera. She describes the mental and physical process of preparing for these dances, the meaning of the iconography of the costumes and masks, the spectrum of accompanying music, and the actual dance steps as recorded in a choreography book dating back to the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1647. Beautiful color photographs from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and Pearlman's own images of touring monastic troupes complement the rare historic black-and-white photos from the collections of Sir Charles Bell, chief of the British Mission in Tibet during the life of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama.
Shadow of the Silk Road
Shadow of the Silk Road
Hardcover      ISBN: 006123172x

Shadow of the Silk Road records a journey along the greatest land route on earth. Out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran and into Kurdish Turkey, Colin Thubron covers some seven thousand miles in eight months. Making his way by local bus, truck, car, donkey cart and camel, he travels from the tomb of the Yellow Emperor, the mythic progenitor of the Chinese people, to the ancient port of Antioch--in perhaps the most difficult and ambitious journey he has undertaken in forty years of travel.

The Silk Road is a huge network of arteries splitting and converging across the breadth of Asia. To travel it is to trace the passage not only of trade and armies but also of ideas, religions and inventions. But alongside this rich and astonishing past, Shadow of the Silk Road is also about Asia today: a continent of upheaval.

One of the trademarks of Colin Thubron's travel writing is the beauty of his prose; another is his gift for talking to people and getting them to talk to him. Shadow of the Silk Road encounters Islamic countries in many forms. It is about changes in China, transformed since the Cultural Revolution. It is about false nationalisms and the world's discontented margins, where the true boundaries are not political borders but the frontiers of tribe, ethnicity, language and religion. It is a magnificent and important account of an ancient world in modern ferment.

Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind, and Spirit
Vietnam
Journeys of Body, Mind, and Spirit
Paperback      ISBN: 0520238729
Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind, and Spirit takes the reader on an informed and engaging journey into the social and ritual life of contemporary Vietnam. Created to accompany the first major collaboration between a Vietnamese museum and an American museum on an exhibition of Vietnamese culture, this book moves beyond the troubled wartime history of both nations to a deeper portrayal of how Vietnamese of different ages, ethnicities, occupations, and circumstances live at the start of the twenty-first century. The contributors--most of whom live and work in Vietnam, while others have spent many years in intimate association with Vietnamese life--offer a unique perspective on the country and its diverse cultural mosaic. The text is complemented by a rich collection of photographs and illustrations that capture the complexity and nuance of daily life.

The journeys portrayed in this volume cut across virtually every domain of Vietnamese experience. Some take place on roads, railways, rivers, and footpaths, as family members come home for the New Year and traders carry goods precariously balanced on bicycles. Others are metaphorical: life is a journey marked by significant rituals, and the year is a journey mapped by a calendar with holidays as milestones along the way. Souls travel to the netherworld, while gods and ancestors return to the human world during celebrations in their honor.

Although the Vietnam War dominated the consciousness of a generation of Americans, few understand the country and few can imagine what it is like today. Appearing more than a decade after Vietnam's entrance into the global market and more than a quarter century after the cessation of hostilities between the Vietnamese and U.S. governments, this book provides a new understanding of how Vietnamese live, work, and celebrate critical passages of life and time.

Copublished with the American Museum of Natural History and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume III, Volume 3: A Century of Advance. Book 2, South Asia
Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume III, Volume 3
A Century of Advance. Book 2, South Asia
Hardcover      ISBN: 0226467546

This monumental series, acclaimed as a masterpiece of comprehensive scholarship in the New York Times Book Review, reveals the impact of Asia's high civilizations on the development of modern Western society. The authors examine the ways in which European encounters with Asia have altered the development of Western society, art, literature, science, and religion since the Renaissance.

In Volume III: A Century of Advance, the authors have researched seventeenth-century European writings on Asia in an effort to understand how contemporaries saw Asian societies and peoples.
Return to Tibet: Tibet After the Chinese Occupation
Return to Tibet
Tibet After the Chinese Occupation
Paperback      ISBN: 0874779251

The author recounts his return to Tibet after being forced to flee by the invading Chinese army and discusses the Buddhist's struggle for survival.

Real Karaoke People
Real Karaoke People
Paperback      ISBN: 0898232260
Emotive and provocative poems and prose that chronicle contemporary America and challenge cultural stereotypes.


The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future
The Impossible State
North Korea, Past and Future
Paperback      ISBN: 0061998516

"A meaty, fast-paced portrait of North Korean society, economy, politics and foreign policy." -Foreign Affairs

The definitive account of North Korea, its veiled past and uncertain future, from the former Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council

In The Impossible State, seasoned international-policy expert and lauded scholar Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on this controversial and isolated country, providing the best look yet at North Korea's history, the rise of the Kim family dynasty, and the obsessive personality cult that empowers them. He illuminates the repressive regime's complex economy and culture, its appalling record of human-rights abuses, and its belligerent relationship with the United States, and analyzes the regime's major security issues--from the seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor to its frightening nuclear ambitions--all in light of the destabilizing effects of Kim Jong-il's recent death.

How this enigmatic nation-state--one that regularly violates its own citizens' inalienable rights and has suffered famine, global economic sanctions, a collapsed economy, and near total isolation from the rest of the world--has continued to survive has long been a question that preoccupies the West. Cha reveals a land of contradictions, one facing a pivotal and disquieting transition of power from tyrannical father to inexperienced son, and delves into the ideology that leads an oppressed, starving populace to cling so fiercely to its failed leadership.

With rare personal anecdotes from the author's time in Pyongyang and his tenure as an adviser in the White House, this engagingly written, authoritative, and highly accessible history offers much-needed answers to the most pressing questions about North Korea and ultimately warns of a regime that might be closer to its end than many might think--a political collapse for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared.

Shadow of the Silk Road
Shadow of the Silk Road
Paperback      ISBN: 0061231770

To travel the Silk Road, the greatest land route on earth, is to trace the passage not only of trade and armies but also of ideas, religions, and inventions. Making his way by local bus, truck, car, donkey cart, and camel, Colin Thubron covered some seven thousand miles in eight months--out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey--and explored an ancient world in modern ferment.

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883
Krakatoa
The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883
Hardcover      ISBN: 0066212855

The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Map That Changed the World examines the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the earth's most dangerous volcano -- Krakatoa.

The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa -- the name has since become a byword for a cataclysmic disaster -- was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event that has only very recently been properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round die planet for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid with lurid and unsettling displays of light. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogota and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims: one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere.

Simon Winchester's long experience in the world wandering as well as his knowledge of history and geology give us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event as he brings it telling back to life.



The Missionary and the Libertine: Love and War in East and West
The Missionary and the Libertine
Love and War in East and West
Paperback      ISBN: 0375705376

From Naipaul's India to the last days of Hong Kong, and from the ghosts of Pearl Harbor to Benazir Bhutto, Buruma delivers an engaging and incisive look at the ways East and West understand-and misunderstand-each other.

At home in both worlds, Buruma traverses the realms of journalism, literary criticism, and political analysis, to examine the dialogue of fact and fantasy that affects our perception of far-away lands. Whether deconstructing the films of Satyajit Ray or the novels of Yoshimoto Banana, Buruma offers a splendid counterbalance to fashionable theories of clashing civilizations and uniquely Asian values. In twenty-five illuminating, often humorous essays, The Missionary and the Libertine shows us why Buruma's reputation for writing the most compelling commentary on the faultlines of the East-West divide is so secure.