This book breaks new ground by examining trans-oceanic connectivity through the perspective of coastal shrines and maritime cultural landscapes across the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea. It covers a period of expanding networks and cross-cultural encounters from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE.
The book examines the distinctiveness of these shrines, and highlights their interconnections, and their role in social integration in South and Southeast Asia. By drawing on data from shipwreck sites, the author elaborates on the material and religious intersections and transmissions between cultures across the seas. Many of these coastal shrines survived into the colonial period when they came to be admired for their aesthetic value as ‘monuments’. As nation states of the region became independent, these shrines were often inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on account of their Outstanding Universal Values. The book argues that in the 21st century there is a need to promote the cultural connectivity of the past as transnational heritage on UNESCO’s global platform to preserve and protect our shared heritage.
The volume will be essential reading for academics and researchers of archaeology, anthropology, museum and heritage studies, history of South and Southeast Asia, religious studies, cultural studies, and Asian studies.
Table of Contents
This book breaks new ground by examining maritime connectivity through the perspective of coastal shrines and their cultural landscapes in Asia, at the time of expanding maritime networks from the 4rth century CE to the 7th century CE.
The book traces the historical trajectory of shrines of multi-religious affiliation across the coastal stretch of the Indian ocean and the South China sea. It examines their distinctiveness, interconnections, and highlights their role in social integration and religious plurality in South and Southeast Asia.
Himanshu Prabha Ray is Research Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford. She was the first Chairperson of the National Monuments Authority, Ministry of Culture in New Delhi, India from 2012 to 2015, and former Professor Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Her research interests include Maritime History and Archaeology of the Indian Ocean and the Archaeology of Religion in Asia. Her recent books include Decolonising Heritage in South Asia: The Global, the National and the Transnational (ed. 2019) Archaeology and Buddhism in South Asia (2018), Buddhism and Gandhara: An Archaeology of Museum Collections (ed. 2018), The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: The Temple in Western India,2nd Century BCE to 8th Century CE (with Susan Verma Mishra, 2017), The Return of the Buddha: Ancient Symbols for a New Nation (2014) and The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia, (2003).