This is the first reference work of its kind about the
vast, multi-hued panorama of Asian cultures which have a history dating back to
thousands of years before Christ. The book contains 206 articles written by
renowned scholars of Asia, specialists in their respective fields. The countries
covered in this encyclopedia include Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan,
Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia,
Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines,
Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
The book portrays Asian culture through the ages in all its
aspects — political organisation, social life, economic conditions, education
and literature, art and architecture and religious and spiritual beliefs.
Organised in thirteen parts, the topics covered range from birth and marriage
customs to dress customs and traditions, houses, agrarian rituals and festivals,
women in Asian villages, folk traditions, folk dances and folk theatre, music
and performing arts, cinema, traditional sports and games, textiles and
embroidery and myths and superstitions. It is rounded off with a section on the
wondrous monuments of the region, standing testimonials of the civilizations
which lived and flourished in these lands.
This encyclopedia also highlights the several close
cultural similarities among peoples of Asia. A notable example is Buddhism which
continues as a living religion in many parts of Asia. Similarly, the two great
Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata remain popular and
influential in almost all the South-East Asian countries. The Angkor temples,
too, are an amazing example of the creative synthesis of different cultures.
Even as the way of life and means of livelihood change with
times, the essence of culture lives on in the knowledge, beliefs, art, values,
the way of life and customs of a people. Encyclopedia of Asian Culture is
a work of abiding reference value and offers a unique understanding of the rich
and vibrant culture of the Asian peoples.
Illustrated with more than one hundred photographs.