Art of Asia
Introduction to Southeast Asia
Only in the past sixty years has “Southeast Asia” been used to refer to the region comprising modern-day Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines. These ten countries cover an area more than three times that of Great Britain, France, and Germany combined, and they have a population about twice as great.
These countries have similar warm, wet climates, and they share many trees, flowers, and crops. But their hilly uplands are quite different from their lush river valleys. Also, of course, life in the islands—dominated as it is by the surrounding sea—is different from life on the mainland. Culturally, the region is extremely diverse. Its peoples speak many unrelated languages employing a number of alphabets. Several sects of Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity are widespread; other religions, such as Hinduism, also have hundreds of thousands of followers. At the same time, some have suggested that there are traits common to the cultures of Southeast Asia. Among these are the relatively high status of women, a tendency to place sacred sites on hills or mountains, and myths involving oppositions between beings associated with the sky or mountains and those associated with the waters or coasts.
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- Which countries regarded women with a high status? What sort of things would they do that differentiated them from other cultures of their age in time?(7 votes)
- Hello! I am from the Philippines, and in our early cultures women were not regarded as subordinate to men. Men and women had different roles but were seen in equal stature. For example, in early societies the male "datu" or chieftain of the tribe acted as the political and military leader, while the female "babaylan" acted as the religious and intellectual leader, but there was equal respect for both.
This status in early Filipino societies is evident today in our languages because unlike in English or in most European languages, our languages typically do not have an equivalent for "he" and "she" or "him" and "her". In Tagalog for example we only have "siya" which is used for both genders.
In general, early Filipino cultures were egalitarian, and the prominent kind of differentiation was on the basis of social roles and not of hierarchies/ranks.(18 votes)
- Are the cultures in Southeast Asia diverse or do they share certain similarities?(2 votes)
- Okay, here are some broad generalizations. There are plenty of exceptions
-Vietnam is fairly 'Confucian' and most similar to China
-Cambodian is very Buddhist. so is Laos and Thailand
-Laotian language and Thai are mutually intelligible, Laos is more conservative than Thailand.
-Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia are linguistic, religious, and cultural siblings
-Burma is very Buddist
-Timor Leste is a Portuguese speaking version of Indonesia
-Philippines is most different due to significant Spanish colonization, but the language is related to Malay.
-Singapore is an amalgamation of Malaysian and ethnic Chinese
-There are also ethnic Chinese in all of these countries
-Prior to the introduction of Islam and Western colonization the whole region was influenced in varying degrees by China and India.
I would say that SE Asia is diverse and similar like Europe is. Norwegians aren't Italians, but they're more similar to each other than they are to Sub-Auharan Africans.(7 votes)
- Did the Southeast Asians ever have much influence and power outside of Southeast Asia?(1 vote)
- Hi! I am from Malaysia. In the 15th century, a state in my country was a hub for traders from the East. Checkout this link: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/peninsular-malaysia-west-coast/melaka/history(4 votes)
- With an ever ongoing lust toward modern civilization do you think cultures and languages will vanish in the region?(1 vote)
- English is becoming the de facto linga franca. The official language of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is English. They watch many Western movies and television, wear Western clothes and adopt Western style (many, but not all).
I wouldn't say the culture and languages will vanish. They will just merge. Read about Singapore for a good example.(2 votes)
- what is the most famous art piece in china(0 votes)
- I'm assuming you're asking "What is the most famous piece of Chinese art" and not "What is the most famous art piece that is currently in China".
You could argue for the Great Wall of China (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China) - though some might say that's more architecture or army fortifications than art. The Terracotta Army (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army) is pretty famous, and is often imitated even today. As far as painting goes, the artists from the early Song dynasty, such as Li Cheng, Fan Kuan, and Guan Tong, are famous for their landscapes such as this one (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Late_Greenery_of_Autumn_Mountains.png)
Any of those would be great places to start when looking at famous Chinese art.(4 votes)
- Is there an article on the sustainability of the Maldives? Why do tourists find it so attractive, and what can you do when vacationing to the Maldives? What are the consequences (positive and negative) of tourism in the Maldives? How do resorts help the Maldives by supplying their own recourses? Will the Maldives be sustainable in the long-run, or just for the present (with the resorts trying to keep the area sustainable)?(1 vote)
- Did any Southeast-Asian people accept Christianity while they existed?(1 vote)
- If you mean native people, most native tribes followed the Buddha. Everywhere over in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam there are thousands of temples each which are places to pray in the name of the Buddha. I don't think Christianity came to any of those countries until foreigners arrived and taught it to them.(2 votes)
- No discussion about the Philippines? Malaysia? Vietnam?(1 vote)
- Hello. I'm from Viet Nam. I would like some infomation about the cultutre of Funan. It is famous for its capital Oc OE in the sound of Viet Nam. Thanks(1 vote)
- Where can I find academic sources about Vietnamese art?(1 vote)
- From the author:Try an academic library at a university or a research library in a major city. Online you may want to look at Jstor https://www.jstor.org/ You could also try an organization such as the Asia Society in New York City.(1 vote)