Im writing a rpg setting based on southeastern cultures, but i coudn´t find any extensive book about them, only a few articles here and there, and im not a historian, so my researching capabilities are quite limited due to my ignorance.
Not a book, but extremely useful: http://www.southeastasianarchaeology.com/
It's mostly just a list of news pieces, but you can find some really useful stuff on there, like links to websites.
Sorry I can't recommend any books though.
Do you want any specific information or are you just looking for inspiration?
I want general info on their history and culture, how they developed their civilizations? their architecture, folklore, construction methods, the budha/hindu influences, their art.
Stuff like that.
Oh, and im especially interested on their ancient/medieval history.
I want to now something about the ethos of those people.
Sorry I can't recommend many good books, though if you go to page 153 of this there's an interesting section about Indian influence; www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documents/A%20History%20of%20India_Kulke.pdf
Also if you're interested these visualisations of Angkor give a pretty great impressive of life there; www.google.com/culturalinstitute/u/0/exhibit/visualising-angkor/AR6A-vMq
I have hundreds of images, I can dump some if you're interested.
Anything specific? I have loads from Angkor (plus the wider empire), Java, and Champa, plus a lot from Burma and Thailand.
Alright, I'll start with Java. Between 717 and 1017 most of central and eastern Java was ruled by the Hindu-Buddhist Medang kingdom, with it's capital (not really a city though) in the Kewu Plain, where they built some of the greatest works of architecture of their time. Pic related is one of the oldest groups and built probably in the 8th century.
Most of their greatest architecture was built between around 750 and 929, when the capital shifted to the east and monumental construction largely ceased. This might have been caused by a volcanic eruption in the Kewu plane.
A lot of these temples are reconstructed after destruction by earthquakes, but they use the original materials so it's more like putting a puzzle back together than actually rebuilding.
>Boxer Codex (1570's)
>Blair and Robertsons "The Philippine Islands." (bajillion volumes)
>Antonio De Morgas "Sucesos de Los Islas Filipinas." (1609)
>Chirino's "Relacion de Islas Filipinas" (1607)
Boxer Codex would be good for you: its an Ethnographic atlas of
>Filipino Subjects of Spain
>The Chinese People
>Inhabitants of Southeast Asia
in the 1570's
Pic related, from the Boxer Codes: A warrior from Moluccas with a European Musket and Japanese swords. Area was a hotbed of both trade and piracy.
Java is very heavily populated (one of the most densely populated places on Earth), so most of the forests have been cut down, but it's still a tropical climate. Less populated islands like Borneo and Sumatra are still covered in rainforest, and there are still some patches left in Java on mountainsides. The landscape is also extremely volcanic, so the soils are especially good (they're huge exporters of coffee because of this).
I'm not aware of any, but the temples at Angkor were often covered in white plaster as well as painted, and many of the towers on their biggest monuments were covered in gold. I don't know if the Javanese did anything similar. Any evidence probably wouldn't survive the humid tropical environment.
This was probably the entrance to the king's palace, which was wooden. It's built on a hillside overlooking the whole plane below.
There are references to Java ruling Cambodia prior to the rise of Angkor, but historians aren't really sure it's true, since the major power at the time was Srivijaya, not Java, and there's no solid evidence for it. It's possible that by 'Java' the Cambodians were referring to a Javanese dynasty that ruled both Medang and Srivijaya, the Sailendras.
I'll post some art too. Medang had some amazing metalwork.
I've been reading volume 1 of Lieberman's Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in a global context.
But that book is more about state formation and development of the major Southeast Asian polities, so I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for. Still a good introduction though. There's also a volume 2, but that's more focused on comparative history, highlighting similar trends in Southeast Asia to other parts of the world.
If you mean that they don't look 'worn', it might be because a lot of the materials were buried underneath volcanic soil and protected from weathering before they were put back together. Plus, unlike in Angkor they aren't overgrown with vegetation. Most of these have been very heavily restored, sometimes from the foundations, but the material is all original and the reconstructions are considered to be accurate.
Also the building material is probably a factor, since many of these are made of basalt which is resistant to erosion.
>There are many volcanoes on the continental part of the subcontinent, or its limited to the islands?
It's mostly just the islands, though I think there are a few in Vietnam too. Borneo isn't volcanic either, but Java, Sumatra, and the Philippines, since they're island arcs formed by tectonic subduction.
Religion and cultural exchange. Southeast Asia was very heavily influenced by India, especially Tamils, but also other parts of India as well as Sri Lanka. I posted a link here >>47399 that explains how culture was transmitted. Basically, native Southeast Asian chiefdoms and kingdoms came into contact with India through trade, saw that Indian culture was far more advanced in terms of statehood and religion, and adopted their customs to legitimize their rule. There was no actual colonization by Indians though. It's actually similar to how Dravidians adopted Sanskrit civilization centuries before.
Between 1017 and 1222, Java went through a kind of 'dark age' where there were a few smaller kingdoms and fairly little construction, though there are a small number of temples from the period.
There were also impressive structures in Bali at this time.
In 1222 the Singhasari kingdom rose, and unlike the other kingdoms actually exerted strong influence abroad. They revived art and temple building, though now in the east rather than center of Java.
Not a huge amount really, since written documents rarely survived in the tropics and Indian cultures generally didn't have a strong tradition of writing down history. We don't even know if Medang was run by a single dynasty or two working together. Prior to Islamisation, history is mostly based on inscriptions and archaeology.
There are a few written sources though, like this; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pararaton
In 1292-93, Singhasari gave way to the empire of Majapahit. Basically, a Yuan Mongol envoy arrived in Java asking for the king's submission. The king, of course, just mutilated the envoy and sent him home. So the Mongols invaded. However, by the time the Mongols arrived Singhasari had already been overthrown by a vassal king and replaced by the Kediri kingdom.
Some of the exiled Singhasari court managed to convince the Mongols that Singhasari was still in power and allied with them, basically tricking the Mongols into putting their own enemies back intp power. Before the Mongols realised what they had done, the Singhasari court turned on them in an ambush and drove them out of Java, before establishing a new capital at Trowulan, and renaming the kingdom Majapahit.
I've never actually studied that, I'm afraid. I don't think they were a theocracy though (religious pluralism was the norm, with Buddhist and Hindu monuments often built side-by-side), and I'm not aware of any strong caste system. I don't know if they were feudal.
Sorry I couldn't help, I really should know this.
Majapahit built a huge empire across Indonesia, but they were more a hegemony than an actual empire, controlling trade and keeping down rivals without actually imposing direct rule.
Their capital Trowulan was the first 'true' city that Java had seen, and had a complex system of canals and reservoirs.
This is the guy behind it, if you want to read more about it; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raden_Wijaya
This is the world's oldest known piggy bank.
Majapahit declined throughout the 15th century with civil wars for succession and declining influence abroad, while Islamic communities of traders grew more and more influential, eventually growing into sultanates. The last remnants of Majapahit were wiped out in the early 16th century, while the old Hindu aristocracy fled to Bali.
What about the "people"?
In what kind of society they likely lived it? rural communities? proto-burgs? castles (there were any kind of fortification at all)?
And what about warfare? what was their preferred weapon?
After the fall of Majapahit, Java was split into a number of competing sultanates. I'm afraid I don't know anything about this period, except that Europeans became involved soon after. Pic related is a unique example of a mosque from the period built in the same style as Majaphahit temples.
That's about all I have for Java.
The war itself was all on land as far as I know, though I doubt the Mongols would have been much good in the tropical conditions.
As far as I know it's gold.
It was generally a rural society, without any real cities prior to the founding of Trowulan, which was a canal based city similar to those in Cambodia/Thailand (pic related is a pretty good reconstruction, even if it's cartoonish). I'm not aware of any fortifications except possibly this >>48220
I don't know much about warfare, but the most celebrated weapon was the kris, a sort of wavy dagger. They became popular under Majapahit though they're known as early as Medang. According to Zheng He, these were carried by all men from the age of three onwards, and they're still a symbol of Indonesia and Malaysia today.
Also, speaking of weapons, here are some ceremonial halberds from Singhasari.
That's pretty much everything now. Hope it was useful.
>Do you know if they had access to steel alloys?
Zheng He claimed the daggers everyone carried were made of steel, but other than that I don't know much about metalworking. I'd assume they used the same techniques as in south India, or at least similar ones, which were some of the best in the world, but that's just guesswork really. I should really learn more about it.
>Also, where do you come from? you seem quite knowledgeable about this region´s history.
I'm from Ireland, I just read up on the region a bit over the summer. I'm not an expert on this stuff or anything, most of this information is just from wikipedia and other websites, and ,ost of the pictures are just from wikimedia and Google Earth.
Also, another thing I forgot to post about is this; Gunung Padang. It's probably an Austronesian megalithic structure from around 500 BC or so, but it's been caught up in some weird political pseudohistory that even the president is involved in, and now there are 'archaeologists' claiming it's older than the pyramids. Still, it's a really interesting example of a Javanese construction prior to Indian influence.