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See below for a selection of the latest books from Asian history category. Presented with a red border are the Asian history books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Asian history books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
We think of blue and white porcelain as the ultimate global commodity: throughout East and Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean including the African coasts, the Americas and Europe, consumers desired Chinese porcelains. Many of these were made in the kilns in and surrounding Jingdezhen. Found in almost every part of the world, Jingdezhen's porcelains had a far-reaching impact on global consumption, which in turn shaped the local manufacturing processes. The imperial kilns of Jingdezhen produced ceramics for the court, while nearby private kilns manufactured for the global market. In this beautifully illustrated study, Anne Gerritsen asks how this kiln complex could manufacture such quality, quantity and variety. She explores how objects tell the story of the past, connecting texts with objects, objects with natural resources, and skilled hands with the shapes and designs they produced. Through the manufacture and consumption of Jingdezhen's porcelains, she argues, China participated in the early modern world.
Focusing on the Deccan Sultanates of 16th- and 17th-century central India, Local States in an Imperial World promotes the idea that some polities of the time were not aspiring to be empires. Instead of the universalist and hierarchical vision typical of the language of empire, the sultanates presented another brand of state - one that prefers negotiation, flexibility and plurality of languages, religions and cultures. Building on theories of early modernity, empire, cosmopolitanism and vernaculars, Roy Fischel considers the components that shaped state and society: people, identities and idioms. He presents a frame for understanding the Deccan Sultanates as a rare case of the early modern non-imperial state, shedding light both on the region and on the imperial world surrounding it.
One of the most important and celebrated works of premodern Korean prose fiction, Kumo sinhwa (New Tales of the Golden Turtle) is a collection of five tales of the strange artfully written in literary Chinese by Kim Sisup (1435-1493). Kim was a major intellectual and poet of the early Choson dynasty (1392-1897), and this book is widely recognized as marking the beginning of classical fiction in Korea.The present volume features an extensive study of Kim and the Kumo sinhwa, followed by a copiously annotated, complete English translation of the tales from the oldest extant edition. The translation captures the vivaciousness of the original, while the annotations reveal the work's complexity, unraveling the deep and diverse intertextual connections between the Kumo sinhwa and preceding works of Chinese and Korean literature and philosophy. The Kumo sinhwa can thus be read and appreciated as a hybrid work that is both distinctly Korean and Sino-centric East Asian. A translator's introduction discusses this hybridity in detail, as well as the unusual life and tumultuous times of Kim Sisup; the Kumo sinhwa's creation and its translation and transformation in early modern Japan and twentieth-century (especially North) Korea and beyond; and its characteristics as a work of dissent. Tales of the Strange by a Korean Confucian Monk will be welcomed by Korean and East Asian studies scholars and students, yet the body of the work-stories of strange affairs, fantastic realms, seductive ghosts, and majestic but eerie beings from the netherworld-will be enjoyed by academics and non-specialist readers alike.
A free open access ebook is available upon publication. Learn more at www.luminosoa.org. During the height of Muslim power in Mughal South Asia, Hindu and Muslim scholars worked collaboratively to translate a large body of Hindu Sanskrit texts into the Persian language. Translating Wisdom reconstructs the intellectual processes and exchanges that underlay these translations. Using as a case study the 1597 Persian rendition of the Yoga-Vasistha-an influential Sanskrit philosophical tale whose popularity stretched across the subcontinent-Shankar Nair illustrates how these early modern Muslim and Hindu scholars drew upon their respective religious, philosophical, and literary traditions to forge a common vocabulary through which to understand one another. These scholars thus achieved, Nair argues, a nuanced cultural exchange and interreligious and cross-philosophical dialogue significant not only to South Asia's past but also its present.
Towards the end of the thirteenth century the Nestorian monk, Rabban Sawma, together with his disciple Mark, set out from Khanbaliq (Beijing), the capital city of Kublai Khan's Mongol Empire, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Travelling through northern China and Central Asia they arrived at Maraghah, capital city of the Ilkhanate that was Mongol-ruled Persia. Military unrest prevented them from ever reaching Jerusalem but they did reah Baghdad, where Rabban Sawma spent many years. Summoned by Arghun Khan, the Ilkhan ruler and grand nephew of Kublai Khan, Sawma was made Ilkhanid ambassador and sent to Europe, first travelling to Constantinople to meet the Byzantine emperor and then to meet the kings of France and England as well as Pope Nicholas IV. Sawma's disciple, Mark, became the Nestorian Catholicus. Sawma's account of his travels provides unique information on the Ilkhans of Perisa and their dealings with the Mongol Christians as well as the events that led to the downfall of the Nestorian Church in China and further offers a unique picture of Medieval Europe through Asian eyes. Translated by Sir E.A. Wallis Budge, who also included a substantial introduction, the work is now rare. This edition contains a new introduction by Professor David Morgan, the leading scholar of the Mongol period.
In this ground-breaking new study, Teren Sevea reveals the economic, environmental and religious significance of Islamic miracle workers (pawangs) in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Malay world. Through close textual analysis of hitherto overlooked manuscripts and personal interaction with modern pawangs readers are introduced to a universe of miracle workers that existed both in the past and in the present, uncovering connections between miracles and material life. Sevea demonstrates how societies in which the production and extraction of natural resources, as well as the uses of technology, were intertwined with the knowledge of charismatic religious figures, and locates the role of the pawangs in the spiritual economy of the Indian Ocean world, across maritime connections and Sufi networks, and on the frontier of the British Empire.
Narrative Pasts retrieves the social history of a Muslim community in Gujarat, a region that has one of the earliest records of Muslim presence in the Indian subcontinent. By reconstructing the literary, social and historical world of Sufi preceptors, disciples, and descendants from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, the book reveals the importance of learned Muslim men in imparting a distinct regional and historical identity to Gujarat. The prominence of Gujarat's maritime location has often oriented the study of Gujarat towards the commercial world of the western Indian Ocean world. Narrative Pasts demonstrates that Gujarat was also an integral part of the historical and narrative processes that shaped medieval and early modern South Asia. Employing new and rarely used literary materials in Persian and Arabic, this book departs from the narrow state-centered visions of the Muslim past and integrates Gujarat's sultanate and Mughal past to the larger socio-cultural histories of Islamic South Asia.
In this major new study, Margherita Zanasi argues that basic notions of a free market economy emerged in China a century and half earlier than in Europe. In response to the commercial revolutions of the late 1500s, Chinese intellectuals and officials called for the end of state intervention in the market, recognizing its power to self-regulate. They also noted the elasticity of domestic demand and production, arguing in favour of ending long-standing rules against luxury consumption, an idea that emerged in Europe in the late seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. Zanasi challenges Eurocentric theories of economic modernization as well as the assumption that European Enlightenment thought was unique in its ability to produce innovative economic ideas. She instead establishes a direct connection between observations of local economic conditions and the formulation of new theories, revealing the unexpected flexibility of the Confucian tradition and its accommodation of seemingly unorthodox ideas.
In world history, the Meiji Restoration of 1868 ranks as a revolutionary watershed, on a par with the American and French Revolutions. In this volume, leading historians from North America, Europe, and Japan employ global history in novel ways to offer fresh economic, social, political, cultural, and military perspectives on the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent creation of the modern Japanese nation-state. Seamlessly mixing meta- and micro-history, the authors examine how the Japanese state and Japanese people engaged with global trends of the early nineteenth century. They also explore the internal military conflicts that marked the 1860s and the process of reconciliation after 1868. They conclude with discussions of how new political, cultural, and diplomatic institutions were created as Japan emerged as a global nation, defined in multiple ways by its place in the world.
Familial Properties is the first full-length history of Vietnamese gender relations in the precolonial period. Author Nhung Tuyet Tran shows how, despite the bias in law and practice of a patrilineal society based on primogeniture, some women were able to manipulate the system to their own advantage. Women succeeded in taking pragmatic advantage of socioeconomic turmoil during a time of war and chaos to acquire wealth and, to some extent, control what happened to their property.Drawing from legal, literary, and religious sources written in the demotic script, classical Chinese, and European languages, Tran argues that beginning in the fifteenth century, state and local communities produced laws and morality codes limiting women's participation in social life. Then in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, economic and political turmoil led the three competing states - the Mac, Trinh, and Nguyen - to increase their military service demands, producing labor shortages in the fields and markets of the countryside. Women filled the vacuum left by their brothers, husbands, and fathers, and as they worked the lands and tended the markets, they accumulated monetary capital. To protect that capital, they circumvented local practice and state law guaranteeing patrilineal inheritance rights by soliciting the cooperation of male leaders. In exchange for monetary and landed donations to the local community, these women were elected to become spiritual patrons of the community whose souls would be forever preserved by collective offering. By tracing how the women, local leaders, and court elites negotiated gender models to demarcate their authority, Tran demonstrates that despite the Confucian ethos of the times, survival strategies were able to subvert gender norms and create new cultural models. Gender, thus, as a signifier of power relations, was central to the relationship between state and local communities in early modern Vietnam. Rich and detailed in its use of documentary evidence from a range of archives, this work will be of great interest to scholars of Southeast Asian history and the comparative study of gender.