Two aspects: Two aspects



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Two aspects:

  • Two aspects:

    • Independent achievements
    • Contributions to world civilisations
  • Asia never isolated

  • Asia and the west in the pre-modern period

  • Religions



States and empires

  • States and empires

  • The arts

  • Science and technology

  • Languages

  • Cuisine

  • Conclusions



Samuel Huntington: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

  • Samuel Huntington: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order



For several hundred years, however, [Europe] lagged behind many other civilizations in its level of civilization. China under the T’ang, Sung, and Ming dynasties,

  • For several hundred years, however, [Europe] lagged behind many other civilizations in its level of civilization. China under the T’ang, Sung, and Ming dynasties,



the Islamic world from the eighth to the twelfth centuries, and Byzantium from the eighth to the eleventh centuries far surpassed Europe in wealth, territory, military power, and artistic, literary and scientific achievements.

  • the Islamic world from the eighth to the twelfth centuries, and Byzantium from the eighth to the eleventh centuries far surpassed Europe in wealth, territory, military power, and artistic, literary and scientific achievements.

  • Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1997, p 50



Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity

  • Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity

  • Confucianism, Taoism -- religions or philosophies?



(T)he great Asian civilizations became dominated by religions that stressed harmony: for Hindus and Buddhists, it was harmony with the universe; for Confucians, it was social harmony;

  • (T)he great Asian civilizations became dominated by religions that stressed harmony: for Hindus and Buddhists, it was harmony with the universe; for Confucians, it was social harmony;



and for Taoists, it was harmony with nature. Thus, Asian religions encouraged people to cooperate rather than compete, to be agreeable rather than aggressive.

  • and for Taoists, it was harmony with nature. Thus, Asian religions encouraged people to cooperate rather than compete, to be agreeable rather than aggressive.

  • Glenn Blackburn, Western Civilization. A Concise History, St Martin’s Press, New York, 1991, pp 43-44



Certainly, religious distinctions cannot account for all the differences among civilizations,

  • Certainly, religious distinctions cannot account for all the differences among civilizations,



but it is significant that Western Civilization … developed a worldview that honoured human assertiveness and aggressiveness. This worldview originated with the Hebrews and the Greeks.

  • but it is significant that Western Civilization … developed a worldview that honoured human assertiveness and aggressiveness. This worldview originated with the Hebrews and the Greeks.

  • Blackburn, Western Civilization, p 44



Sophisticated systems of government and administration

  • Sophisticated systems of government and administration

  • Bureaucracy

  • Foreign relations

  • National defence

  • Taxation



12th century city of Angkor (present-day Cambodia)

  • 12th century city of Angkor (present-day Cambodia)

  • Population > 1 million

  • London: <35,000



South Asia tradition of sensuality in art and architecture

  • South Asia tradition of sensuality in art and architecture

  • Konarak, Kamasutra







Taj Mahal

  • Taj Mahal

  • [The Taj Mahal is] the triumph of Indo-Islamic synthesis in art …. Commencing work in 1631, twenty thousand Hindus and Muslims laboured for twenty two years to finish it.

  • D P Singhal, India and World Civilization, vol 2, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1972, p 182





Mahabharata and the Ramayana

  • Mahabharata and the Ramayana



Almost every myth, allegory, and symbol familiar to the Indian imagination can be found in these epics. Religious beliefs and practices, cultural and social ideals, and philosophical convictions all refer back to or are illustrated by one or the other.

  • Almost every myth, allegory, and symbol familiar to the Indian imagination can be found in these epics. Religious beliefs and practices, cultural and social ideals, and philosophical convictions all refer back to or are illustrated by one or the other.

  • Handbook of India, p. 257



Entombed

  • Entombed

  • warriors

  • (Xian)



Writings of Mencius, Confucius, Sun Tze

  • Writings of Mencius, Confucius, Sun Tze

  • Calligraphy

  • Painting

  • Fine porcelain (‘china’)



Silk

  • Silk

  • 14 BCE: Roman Senate bans men from ‘disgracing themselves with the effeminate delicacy of silk apparel’.



Seneca:

  • Seneca:

  • I see garments in which there is nothing to cover either the wearer’s body or her shame.

  • John E Vollmer et al, Silk Roads China Ships, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 1983, p 24



Indian astronomers: the earth is round, rotates about its axis, eclipses the moon.

  • Indian astronomers: the earth is round, rotates about its axis, eclipses the moon.

  • Year: 365.3586805 days

  • Lunar calendar



pi () = 3.1416

  • pi () = 3.1416

  • Decimal system of numbers

  • Zero

  • ‘[Numerical system is India’s] greatest gift ... to the West, apart from religion.’ (O H K Spate and A T A Learmonth, India and Pakistan, Methuen, London, 1967, p. 183.)



Chinese: magnetic compass, gunpowder, firearms



It would not be an exaggeration to state that Arabic culture, enriched by many assimilated elements, was pre-eminent from the 8th through the 11th centuries. Arabic was the language of science.

  • It would not be an exaggeration to state that Arabic culture, enriched by many assimilated elements, was pre-eminent from the 8th through the 11th centuries. Arabic was the language of science.

  • Encyclopedia Americana, vol 2, p 493



Indo-European language family

  • Indo-European language family

  • Ireland to India

  • Sanskrit



The Sanskrit language … is a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either,

  • The Sanskrit language … is a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either,



yet bearing both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident.

  • yet bearing both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident.

  • Cited in David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, Cambridge UP, Cambridge, 1987, p 296; apparently published in Asiatic Researches, 1788



two: dwi

  • two: dwi

    • duo (Latin)
    • dual, duo, double, duet
  • tri

    • triangle, trio, triple, tripartite
    • tres (Latin)


panca

  • panca

  • punch

  • five



The theory and practice of a high cuisine were an integral part of every Asian civilization.

  • The theory and practice of a high cuisine were an integral part of every Asian civilization.

  • K N Chaudhuri, Asia Before Europe, Cambridge UP, Cambridge, 1990, p 176



On finer points of technical skills and the knowledge of ingredients and flavours, a Chinese cuisinier would have found few rivals in Asia…. The highest art of the cuisinier of China was no different from that of his counterparts in the rest of the world.

  • On finer points of technical skills and the knowledge of ingredients and flavours, a Chinese cuisinier would have found few rivals in Asia…. The highest art of the cuisinier of China was no different from that of his counterparts in the rest of the world.



A Ch’ing literary work which included a biography of the author’s cook stated the problem admirably. If the cook had the necessary skills, a piece of celery or salted cabbage could be made into a marvellous delicacy.

  • A Ch’ing literary work which included a biography of the author’s cook stated the problem admirably. If the cook had the necessary skills, a piece of celery or salted cabbage could be made into a marvellous delicacy.

  • Chaudhuri, Asia, p 176



Tea (China)

  • Tea (China)

  • Coffee (west Asia)

  • Pepper (India)

  • Cloves, nutmeg, mace (Indonesia)



Sugar (southeast Asia)

  • Sugar (southeast Asia)

  • Oranges, lemons (west Asia)

  • Wheat, millet, sorghum (south, northeast Asia)

  • Chickens (Southeast Asia)



Spaghetti?

  • Spaghetti?



Sophisticated societies: intellectually, culturally, politically, linguistically, gastronomically

  • Sophisticated societies: intellectually, culturally, politically, linguistically, gastronomically

  • Part of roots of global civilisations



The binary divide: Asia and Europe, or Asia and the west

  • The binary divide: Asia and Europe, or Asia and the west

  • Ultimately not sustainable

  • Holistic view of humankind




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