A fascinating account of ancient culture colliding with modern media. Tucked between Tibet and India in the Himalayas, the kingdom of Bhutan is one of the most isolated and beautiful countries in the world. In The Dragon's Voice Australian journalist Bunty Avieson provides a glimpse of life beyond the country's exotic exterior. As a consultant to local newspaper Bhutan Observer, she admires the paper's strong social conscience, but finds herself constantly challenged in a country where spirituality and Gross National Happiness take precedence over work. Bunty also witnesses the tensions that arise as a Buddhist kingdom makes the transition to democracy. How can deference to authority be reconciled with the need to ask hard questions of politicians? Does the courtship ritual of of 'night-hunting' have sinister side, or is it a rural practice misunderstood by city dwellers? And what place does activism have in a culture that prioritises peace? With a unique blend of memoir and reportage, The Dragon's Voice is both a deeply personal story and a vivid portrait of a nation on the cusp of revolutionary change.
The Myth of Shangri-La by Peter Bishop
Prisoners of Shangri-La by Donald S. Lopez
Publication Date: 1998-05-28
Prisoners of Shangri-La is a provocative analysis of the romance of Tibet, a romance that, even as it is invoked by Tibetan lamas living in exile, ultimately imprisons those who seek the goal of Tibetan independence from Chinese occupation. "Lopez lifts the veil on America's romantic vision of Tibet to reveal a country and a spiritual history more complex and less ideal than popular perceptions allow. . . . Lively and engaging, Lopez's book raises important questions about how Eastern religions are often co-opted, assimilated and misunderstood by Western culture."--Publishers Weekly "Proceeding with care and precision, Lopez reveals the extent to which scholars have behaved like intellectual colonialists. . . . Someone had to burst the bubble of pop Tibetology, and few could have done it as resoundingly as Lopez."--Booklist "Fascinating. . . [A] provocative exploration. Lopez conveys the full dizziness of the Western encounter with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism."--Fred Pheil, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review "A timely and courageous exploration. . . . [Lopez's] book will sharpen the terms of the debate over what the Tibetans and their observers can or should be doing about the place and the idea of Tibet. And that alone is what will give us all back our Shambhala."--Jonathan Spence, Lingua Franca Book Review "Lopez's most important theme is that we should be wary of the idea . . . that Tibet has what the West lacks, that if we were only to look there we would find the answers to our problems. Lopez's book shows that, on the contrary, when the West has looked at Tibet, all that it has seen is a distorted reflection of itself."--Ben Jackson, Times Higher Education Supplement
Shambhala by Victoria LePage
Publication Date: 1996-10-01
For thousands of years, stories have been told about an inaccessible garden paradise hidden among the icy peaks and secluded valleys of the Himalayas. Called by some Shangri-la, this mythical kingdom, where the pure at heart live forever among jewel lakes, wish-fulfilling trees, and speaking stones, has fired the imagination of both actual explorers and mystical travelers to the inner realms. In this fascinating look behind the myth, Victoria LePage traces the links between this legendary Utopia and the mythologies of the world. Shambhala, LePage argues persuasively, is "real" and may be becoming more so as human beings as a species learn increasingly to perceive dimensions of reality that have been concealed for millennia.
Museums, Religion and Asia
No Touching, No Spitting, No Praying by Saloni Mathur (Editor); Kavita Singh (Editor)
Publication Date: 2015-06-05
This volume brings together a range of essays that offer a new perspective on the dynamic history of the museum as a cultural institution in South Asia. It traces the museum from its origin as a tool of colonialism and adoption as a vehicle of sovereignty in the nationalist period, till its role in the present, as it reflects the fissured identities of the post-colonial period.
Objects of Worship in South Asian Religions by Knut A. Jacobsen (Editor); Mikael Aktor (Editor); Kristina Myrvold (Editor)
Publication Date: 2014-08-14
Objects of worship are an aspect of the material dimension of lived religion in South Asia. The omnipresence of these objects and their use is a theme which cuts across the religious traditions in the pluralistic religious culture of the region. Divine power becomes manifest in the objects and for the devotees they may represent power regardless of religious identity. This book looks at how objects of worship dominate the religious landscape of South Asia, and in what ways they are of significance not just from religious perspectives but also for the social life of the region. The contributions to the book show how these objects are shaped by traditions of religious aesthetics and have become conceptual devices woven into webs of religious and social meaning. They demonstrate how the objects have a social relationship with those who use them, sometimes even treated as being alive. The book discusses how devotees relate to such objects in a number of ways, and even if the objects belong to various traditions they may attract people from different communities and can also be contested in various ways. By analysing the specific qualities that make objects eligible for a status and identity as living objects of worship, the book contributes to an understanding of the central significance of these objects in the religious and social life of South Asia. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Religious Studies and South Asian Religion, Culture and Society.
Re-Use-The Art and Politics of Integration and Anxiety by Julia A. B. Hegewald (Editor); Subrata K. Mitra (Editor)
Publication Date: 2012-02-06
Presented here is a novel approach to understanding the relationship between the past and the present using the unique concept of re-use, wherein elements from the past are strategically adapted into the present, and thus become part of a new modernity. The book uses this method as a heuristic tool for analysing and interpreting cultural and political changes and the transnational flow of ideas, concepts and objects. The chapters apply this concept to South Asia but the concept of re-use and the method of its application are both general and amenable to cross-cultural and comparative analysis. Re-use is a collection of well-researched and lucidly written scholarly articles that apply the concept of re-use to different aspects of cultural, political and material life-from art, architecture and jewellery to religion, statesmen and legislatures. By not treating artistic, political, religious and cultural developments as linear evolutions, this book encourages readers to understand them as a continuous modification of the past and a periodic return to earlier forms. Beautifully illustrated with exquisite images, and containing a scholarly bibliography pointing in the direction of hitherto unexplored terrain, this new text will be a source of inspiration to the specialist and a source of delight to the general reader.
Reading Asian Art and Artifacts by Stanley L. Mickel (Contribution by); Mary-Ann Milford-Lutzker (Contribution by); Helena Kolenda (Contribution by); Samuel K. Parker (Contribution by); Paul K. Nietupski; Joan O'Mara; Teodora O. Amoloza (Contribution by); Roger T. Ames (Contribution by); Patricia J. Graham (Contribution by); Sandy Kita (Contribution by); Karil J. Kucera (Contribution by); Ellen Johnston Laing (Contribution by)
Publication Date: 2011-04-04
This book begins with the understanding that, in addition to its aesthetic qualities, Asian art and material artifacts are expressive of cultural realities and constitute a "visible language" with messages that can be read, interpreted, and analyzed. Asian art and artifacts are understood in their contexts, as "windows" into cultures, and as such can be used as a powerful pedagogical tool in many academic disciplines. The book includes essays by scholars of Asian art, philosophy, anthropology, and religion that focus on objects held in ASIANetwork schools. The ASIANetwork collections are reflective of Asian societies, historical and religious environments, political positions, and economic conditions. The art objects and artifacts were discovered sometimes in storage and were sometimes poorly understood and variously described as fine art, curiosities, souvenirs, and markers of events in a school's history. The chapter authors tell the stories of the collections, and the collections themselves tell stories of the collectors. This volume is intended for use in many disciplines, and its interpretive structures are adaptable to other examples of art and artifacts in other colleges, universities, and museums. An online database of some 2000 art objects held in the ASIANetwork schools' collections supplements this book.
Routledge Handbook of Heritage in Asia by Tim Winter (Editor); Patrick Daly (Editor)
Publication Date: 2011-12-15
This Handbook is the first major volume to examine the conservation of Asia's culture and nature in relation to the wider social, political and economic forces shaping the region today. Throughout Asia rapid economic and social change means the region's heritage is at once under threat and undergoing a revival as never before. As societies look forward, competing forces ensure they re-visit the past and the inherited, with the conservation of nature and culture now driven by the broader agendas of identity politics, tradition, revival, rapid development, environmentalism and sustainability. In response to these new and important trends, the twenty three accessible chapters here go beyond sector specific analyses to examine heritage in inter-disciplinary and critically engaged terms, encompassing the natural and the cultural, the tangible and intangible. Emerging environmentalisms, urban planning, identity politics, conflict memorialization, tourism and biodiversity are among the topics covered here. This path-breaking volume will be of particular interest to students and scholars working in the fields of heritage, tourism, archaeology, Asian studies, geography, anthropology, development, sociology, and cultural and postcolonial studies.