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  Ananta Sukla

On the map of Asia, there is a range of mountains running down the spine of Annam that marks the boundary between the Chinese and Indian cultures:  everything northwest is Chinese and everything west and south is Indian.  This part of Asia comprising Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malay, Cambodia and the islands of Java, Sumatra, Bali, and the Philippines might be called Indianized Asia.[1]

The concept of Southeast Asia as a political entity emerged during World War II at the Quebec Conference in August 1943.  The Western Allies decided to establish a separate South East Asia Command (SEAC) embracing Burma, Malay, Thailand, Malay and Borneo.  Subsequently in July 1945 this was extended over the East Indies and Indo-China excluding northern Vietnam, the Philippines, and Laos.  The immediate postwar years (1945-48) were dominated by the problems of rehabilitation and struggles for independence when the Philippines and Burma, along with India, Pakistan, and Ceylon parted from the colonial powers.  Policies were made for independence of Malay and Borneo, whereas decolonization in Indonesia and Vietnam was to come through successful military resistance. 

Between 1949 and 1959, however, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam independence and Singapore attained internal self-government.  But the following period up to 1975 was full of political upheavals with a cold war between the superpowers.  War and revolutions for rival ideological models, such as the US-backed South-East Asia Treaty Organization and the Russo-Chinese support for the Left-wing movement led to rifts between states:  communist and anti-communist, non-aligned and neo-colonialist, radicals and traditionalists, subversives and constitutionalists.  This period covered the second Indo-China war, which brought foreign involvements dominating the development throughout this area.  This coincided with the Cultural Revolution in China and aspirations to Malay brotherhood causing an armed confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia (1963-66).  The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed in 1967 with national identity criteria such as religion (Buddhism in Burma), language (Malay), or ethnic affinity, stressing a common secular approach to modernization, while acknowledging the diversity in religion, language and ethnicity, as in Indonesia and later in Singapore.

But the geographical and political identity of this region constructed during the colonial and postcolonial era does not support an integrated cultural identity.  This is because of the notorious heterodoxy in religion and language, and the administrative ideologies that ruled over this region through external invasion and trade that started as early as the second century CE, the major forces in such influences being Indian and Chinese.

Later historians mark that the earliest record of Southeast Asia began with the arrival of Chinese soldiers and officials along the shores of the South China Sea towards the end of the third century BCE.  They mention the existence of many polities distributed across the terrain of this region by that time.  But the cultural history of this region cannot be traced beyond the third century BCE, prior to the arrival of the Buddhist missionaries sent by the Mauryan emperor Asoka.  Their administrative ideology, religious practices formulating literary, architectural, sculptural and musical traditions dominated the culture of this region for more than a millennium (the third century BCE to the fourteenth century CE).  With a happy blending of the aboriginal religious cults and language, both the Buddhist and Brahmanic traditions of classical and medieval India brought unity to the cultural ecology of this region.  Thus the two major language families in the region, (1) the Austroasiatic and Austronasian and (2) the Tibeto-Burman and Tai-Kadai, were restructured by the two major Indian languages, classical Sanskrit and Pali.  The present Europeanized names of different lands of this area are Sanskrit converts.[2]  

However, May writes, “When the Aryan Indians reached the islands they found not uncultured savages, but organized societies, endowed with a definite form of civilization, which have certain common features with their own, if not developed to such a high degree.”[3]  Therefore, the architectural and sculptural styles of these lands during the Buddhist and Brahmanic heritage retained their pre-Indian cultural individuality and “are just as obviously derived from India, as those seen in Ancient Malay, Siam or Cambodia.”[4] Further, while observing the Chinese and Indian interaction wit h these lands, May wrote, “The interesting point is that, while China employed military force to conquer that portion of Indo-China which still shows her influence, India never used aggression to obtain her ends. Indeed, so far from being exterminated by ‘their conquerors,’ the aborigines of the various Indianized States found, Coedes says, ‘a framework inside which their own social life and customs could merge and develop.’"[5]  May also remarks that the countries of southeastern Asia “derived their religion and culture from India during the first millennium of the Christian era.”[6]  

May concluded, “India, indeed, once it recovered its independence of outlook, about the second century of the Christian era, began to exercise a profound cultural influence on its neighbours to the eastward – Burma, Siam, Malay, Cambodia, Java and Ceylon all falling beneath its sway. And this, as far as one may judge, almost entirely as a result of trading and peaceful penetration by missionaries and others, and not by force of arms.”[7]  In this regard, Legge quoted Coedes as well, “the imprint of the Indian gains which gives the countries . . .a family likeness and produces a clean contrast between these countries and the lands that have been civilized by China.”[8]  And Legge divided Southeast Asian history into (1) prehistory (2) Indian influence from the fifth to the thirteenth centuries, (3) penetration of Islam in the Malay peninsula and Indonesian archipelago (fifteenth to sixteenth centuries), and (4) European colonialism (sixteenth century to early twentieth century).


The German scholar Wilhelm von Humboldt used race and language to explore the cultural identity of Indianized Asia in his introduction to the study of the kawi language of Java in the 1840s.  His brother Alexander Humboldt, perhaps for the first time in history, identified this area as “South-East Asia” in his preface to the book).[9]  Wilhelm Humboldt identified all the inhabitants as the Malay race:  “I include under this name”, he noted, “along with the population of Malacca, the inhabitants of all the islands of the great southern ocean, whose languages belong to one and the same stock with that called Malay in the narrower sense. . ..” In their early phase of civilization, the inhabitants were skilled navigators and spoke languages grammatically close and mutually explicable.  The “an speech-community extends over that whole area of the South Asiatic Ocean which runs southwards from the Philippines down to the Western coasts of New Guinea, and then West about the island chains adjoining the eastern up to Java, into the waters of Java and Sumatra, up to the strait of Malacca.”[10]  

Humboldt asserted the primacy of Indian influence on the language, religion, and culture of the Malay race:  “India alone had a truly profound effect on its earlier shaping prior to this influence there being no higher degree of culture.”  By ‘Indian,’ Humboldt meant the Sanskrit-speaking branch of Aryans, not the inhabitants of the Indian mainland. At the same time he was aware of “two deep-lying questions, evoked by factual circumstances, but difficult to answer with certainty:  whether, that is, the whole civilization of the archipelago is entirely of Indian origin? and whether, too, from a period preceding all literature and the latest and the most refined development of speech, there have existed connections between Sanskrit and Malay languages in the widest sense, that can still be demonstrated in the common elements of speech?”  He observed that prior to the Indian influence there was an indigenous civilization among the “brown race” of the archipelago that gradually assimilated the Aryan culture:

Even the whole way in which Hinduism struck roots among the Malay peoples shows that as a spiritual force it again excited the mind, set the imagination to work, and became powerful through the impression wrought upon the admiration of peoples capable of development….But in order to arrive at a just assessment of the mingling of Indian and Malay elements, and the influence of India on the whole south-eastern archipelago, we must distinguish the various modes of its operation, and start, indeed, precisely from that which, however early it may have begun, has been prolonged into most recent times, because it has also, of course, left the clearest and most unmistakable traces behind it. Here the influence is exerted, not only – as in all mingling of peoples – by the alien tongue speakers, but also by the whole culture that has blossomed in and with it. Now such influence is undeniably visible in the transference of Indian languages, literature, myths and religious philosophy to Java.[11]

This assessment has historical significance but contemporary scholarship differs.  The main theory is that the languages of south-east Asia and the Pacific derive originally from sources that left Taiwan, and that Sanskrit is a later influence.[12]


The Malay islands were conquered by Indian rulers during the sixth century, who controlled them until the advent of Islam in the fifteenth century.  The major religions during this time were Mahayana Buddhism and Brahmanism with its two principal wings, Vaishnavism and Saivism.  The Sanskrit language dominated these religious sects.  The two great Sanskrit poems, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana were Vaisnavite-themed and depicted Krsna and Rama as their heroes.  These were adopted and adapted and achieved immense popularity.  During this time a new language emerged that was particularly suitable for writing in the Brahmic script, a hybrid of Sanskrit and the existing native Malay language of the Austric branch called kawi (kavi), and mentioned by Humboldt.  Two great poems, titled Brata (Bharata/ Mahabharata) Yuddha (The Battle of the Mahabharata) and Bhomantaka (The End of Bhoma/ Bhima), were also composed in this kaw(v)i  language.

The Sanskrit word kavi is derived from the root kav, meaning “to make or create.”  Thus kavi in Sanskrit stands for a poet signifying his creativity.  This new, “creative” language, adopting the richness of Sanskrit diction and meter, was considered more expressive than the native language for writing poems, and became the court language of the Indian rulers.  The poems were probably composed during the eighth to tenth centuries.  The poem Bhomantaka was composed in the sophisticated Sanskrit meters, including sragdhara.  At the present time, kawi is a dead language, but it is used still in Indonesian shadow puppet plays, for instance in conversations between royal characters. Although most of those in the audience do not understand kawi, the conversations always get reported in the plays by servants in a colloquial language.

In the tenth century, literature, drama, and music developed rapidly to produce a Javanised Hindu worldview that included both Buddhism and Saivism, which have evolved into modern times with a remarkable degree of continuity.  What happened to the dissonance in the eighth and ninth centuries should be interpreted as an early phase of Javanizing non-indigenous religious symbols from more than one source.  By the end of the tenth century, Sanskrit texts were being translated into Javanese.[13]

Early in the seventh century, Malay was a meeting place of Chinese monks and Indian Mahayana Buddhists.  In fact, political ambitions appeared to have acquired religious sanction through association with the spread of Buddhist or Saivite thought. Following this religious association, Chinese merchants mediated subsequent diplomatic relations among India, Malaya, Java, and China in the tenth century.  Subsequently, Malaya became the center for both religious and intellectual transactions.  According to Chinese records, the Sui dynasty listed a collection of as many as sixty Sanskrit texts on Indian astronomy and several others on Indian medicines. Surgical techniques in ophthalmology, pediatrics, and gynecology were also translated during the last century of the Tang Dynasty.  All this knowledge contributed greatly to the shaping of  early Malay culture.  This is the period when the two kav(w)i epics mentioned above must have been written, along with the organization and reconstruction of the performing arts, such as music, dance, and drama.

The Sanskrit critical canons that guided the Malay arts are presumably those by Bharata, Bhamaha, Vamana, Udbhata, Rudrata, and Dandi and not those of the New School poeticians, such as Anandavardhana and Abhinavagupta, who formulated  ninth- and tenth-century Dhvani theory.  For earlier critics during the eighth and ninth centuries, kavi-karma, or writing poetry, consisted chiefly in narrating ornamental language with both phonetic and semantic figures in prescribed meters.  This is exemplified in the Malay poem Bhomantaka, which is composed in Sragdhara meter.  Thus poetic language was distinguished from the common language by its rhetorical character.  The Malay kawi language is therefore dictional.  Bhamaha (seventh and eighth century) defines poetry (kavya/ kavikarma) as rhetorical language (kavyam alankarah).  On the other hand, darma was defined by Bharata (fourth century BCE to second century CE) as a mimesis or representation of action (lokavrtta).  It has four constituents:  physical gestures, dialogues, facial expressions and costume, and these generate a specific/ extraordinary delight called rasa (literally juice) in the audience.  Drama was considered a performance, not a text.  That is, it was a theatrical presentation of characters, physical gestures, and mental feelings (vibhava, anubhava and vyabhicaribhava) that express an emotion (bhava). 

Some recent scholars commit anachronistic and critical errors in applying the rasa-dhvani theory of Ananda and Abhinava to the analysis of Javanese Gamelan music.  The key points in the Sanskrit rasa theory are that only two art forms, theater and poetry, generate rasa, the former by (re)presenting an emotion through characters and stimulants (vibhava), physical gestures (anubhava), and mental feelings (vyabhicara bhava), and the latter by emotion through the specific linguistic potency called vyanjana dhvani, being its meaning context.  Rasa never means “meaning”; rasa is never applied to words as Clifford Geertz states and Susan Walton elaborates.[14]  Walton commits a further anachronism by placing Bharata in the eighth century.  Historians confirm  that the Pancaratra Vaisnavism, which developed during the early classical period (fourth century BCE to seventh century CE), was introduced to Cambodia (see the inscription of Jayavarman I).[15]  But the Saivism that was introduced to this region was that of the Pasupati-Nakulisa School, not of the Kashmirian School.  The type of Saivite-Buddhist Tantrism practiced by Kirtanagar was certainly not of the Kashmirian type.

Rasa experience, moreover, should not be confused or identified with the mystic experience of a yogin or Tantric practitioner.[16] Expanding a concept in its intercultural applications is welcome, provided it does not violate its foundational principles and historical limitations.[17]  Therefore, the word rasa used in the expression rasa sejati has no conceptual reference to Bharata’s concept of rasa, which is generated only by a full-fledged theatrical performance, not just by music or dance.  Sanskrit critics would not recommend generating rasa in Gamelan music, but Gamelan performers and theorists may certainly adapt the word and the concept without damaging its original signification.  

According to this theory, music, dance, and the visual arts are unable to generate rasa (or this specific delight) because their presentation is only partial.  In the language of semiotics, theater presents a composite sign system (gestural, auditory, visual, and verbal) that the other arts cannot achieve.  Transplantation of rasa from  theater to poetry was attempted by Anandavardhana and his follower Abhinavagupta during the ninth and tenth centuries.  One can, therefore, comfortably assert that Bharata’s Natyasastra (Dramaturgy) available to the classical Malay culture was without Abhinavagupta’s celebrated commentary Abhinavabharati.  However, at this stage of the Malay culture, the Brahmanic and Buddhist religious arts of architecture, sculpture, and painting, and the Sanskrit texts on poetics and dramaturgy, evidently shaped Malay sensibility and aesthetics:  “The general features of both the architecture and sculpture,” wrote May, “although possessing a strong individuality of their own, have a definite affinity with certain of those found in the Malay Peninsula and are just as obviously derived from India as those seen in Ancient Malay, Siam and Cambodia.”[18]


During the entire fifteenth century, religious Islamic culture spread over Southeast Asia, encouraging translation of Arabic texts into the Malay language. The translators were Arab traders and locals who went to Mecca, Madinah, and Egypt for proper education.  But there are no records of the direct or indirect impact of Islamic ideology on aesthetic activities in the region, either supplanting the Indian/Brahmin tradition altogether or formulating any hybrid form, although the Islamic prohibition against human depiction certainly led to marked changes in the style of Javanese shadow puppets, for instance.  The texts written in the pre-Islamic period have been preserved in eighteenth and nineteenth century Balinese manuscripts that are now called Javanese.  Somehow Javanese Islamic literature penetrated into mercantile middle class communities. About 1500, the last Majapahit king, ousted from the royal position by Muslim insurgents, found refuge in Bali, where the rulers did not embrace Islam and allowed the preservation of the old Javanese literature of the Brahmanic domination.  Around the eighteenth century, the native Balinese language was used as the medium of literary activity, paving the way for a second flourishing period that continues still. 

On the other hand, in the coastal areas of Java Pasisir (coast/coastal line), literature emerged as an amalgamation of pre-Islamic and Islamic cultures. In the island of Lombok, a remarkable Islamic Javan Balinese literature came into existence. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Javanese cultural center was the courts of the inland central kingdoms in Kartasura, Surakarta, and Yogyakarta.  The Surakarta authors, called “pujanggas,” spread all over Java.  Subsequently, the Surakarta renaissance literature superseded the Pasisir tradition, and Surakarta court idiom, with its rigid rules of class distinction in vocabulary, was accepted as exemplary. 

The differences between the Pasisir and the Renaissance Islamic cultures are both geographical and ideological. Geographically, the Pasisir culture was inter-insular, confined to the maritime districts of the islands, and using different languages and idioms.  The renaissance in Pujangg culture was courtly in character.  Belonging to the interior area, it used court idioms of Surakarta and Yogyakarta, and was unified and nationalistic.  Pasisir, on the other hand, was a culture of the middle class.  The renaissance culture, with its Islamic foundation and interest in the pre-Islamic belletristic literature, was meant for the elite.  The renaissance authors adapted the kawi epics into modern historical, romantic, and theatrical poems. The Wayang theater became the favorite pastime at the court; plays were composed by the royal family members suitable for their elitist taste and ways of life.  This phase of the Javanese culture stimulated a strong sense of cultural unity, a common spiritual sphere of the priyayi, the gentleman of Java, and was considered by the elite as the only genuine Javanese (modern) civilization.


The Dutch ruled Java from 1619 to 1798, and the British from 1811 to 1816 under Sir Stanford Raffles, who founded Singapore in 1819 and published his History of Java in 1817.  After the Napoleonic wars, Java was handed back to the Dutch in exchange for Ceylon, and the Dutch ruled it until the formation of the Republic of Indonesia, except for a brief occupation by the Japanese during World War II.  The Surakarta authors did have contact with Dutch scholars during the nineteenth century, but it was not enough to develop forms of modern European literature, such as the novel, short story, and realistic drama.  These had to wait until the 1920s or 1930s.  The Javanese sensibility favored the Wayang  theater of fantasy over the modern European literature of realism and modernism that dealt with the problems of contemporary human society.  At the same time, the shadow puppet play included long comic sections devoted to current political satire, for instance, and the stories often concern ideals of justice, ethics, and honor.

With conservatism ruling Javanese sensibility, the art forms Java produced during the international epochs of realism and modernism concern myths and legends of the cultural heritage of the Indonesian civilization.  The only exception was perhaps the paintings of The Philippines and Bali during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that enthusiastically adopted the European style.

David Chou-Shulin is skeptical of the existence of any integrated aesthetic culture in the Southeast Asian islands against the backdrops of historical, ethnic, and political differences.[19] Nevertheless, he believes it is possible, although difficult, to identify common characteristics.  One is the concept of semangat (animism), which refers to the belief that “there is some form of life-force that animates all aspects of the universe.”[20]  This is clearly the core of the Indian philosophy of cosmic energy (sakti) and consciousness (caitanya) that explains the Upanishadic concept of an ultimate reality, called Brahman, that pervades the whole universe and from which all living beings (bhutani jayanti) are born, live (jatani jivanti), and finally merge into.  However, Chou-Shulin is incorrect in holding that Hinduism does not distinguish between sensuous joy and spiritual bliss.[21]  The Indian theory of rasa considers aesthetic pleasure (natya/ kavya) or rasa as the twin brother of spiritual bliss (Brahmasvada sahodara), but it never identifies them.

Other scholars have explored the “modern” reaction to the Buddhist tradition in Thai art that lasted for more than seven centuries. Following Suwanna Satha-Anand,[22] we may correlate the concept of semangat with Buddhadasa’s ideas of reformulating the Buddhist theory of emptiness (sunyata) that negates any possibility of sensory beauty and aesthetic appreciation.  The cosmos is a conscious existence. Buddhadasa argued against the idea that the life of a Buddhist saint, who is without passion, is a dry, dead life.  On the contrary, he affirmed the joyful and aesthetic quality of an enlightened life.  Ultimate beauty in Buddhism is to live beyond suffering.  Buddhadasa used the term ‘art’ in two different ways, first as in ”art of living” and second in the sense of an artwork, that leads to the cessation of suffering.

As noted earlier, in the history of Southeast Asian culture, visual arts of classical origin, with their Buddhist and Brahmanic Indian base, have undergone modifications under the influence of European perspectives.  Literary art, however, retains its classical and medieval traditions, and the performing arts continue their courtly pattern, though in a slightly updated form.  No Western canon has yet been systematically followed for formulating any philosophy of art and literature, except in the case of painting, which presents a marginalized modernist attitude.  Sculptures still follow the classical Indian aesthetical norms.  As it presently stands, Southeast Asian culture carries its original, particularly Indian, South Asian heritage, tinged with Chinese, Islamic and modern European effects.  


This special volume presents five essays.  Stephen Davies earlier published an essay in which he distinguished Balinese aesthetics from its Western counterpart.[23]  He traced the ideas of the creativity of the artist, and unity and balance between elements and form.  One can explore the Sanskrit origin of the word taksu in the root taks, meaning to create, make, or shape.  The complex decorative detail and as many as two hundred dance positions that Davies catalogued can also be traced to their Indian origin, the different mudras prescribed by both Bharata and Nandikesvara, canonized for expressing emotions and feelings. The religious foundation of art that Davies noted in the Balinese performing arts is clearly of Indian origin.  In view of these observations, one can comfortably say that Balinese aesthetic sensibility reflects the classical Indian aesthetic principles and theories.

The essay by Davies in the present volume highlights the conservation of the Balinese Legong dance, a genre of some twenty dances that originated in court culture.  This dance was traditionally for semar pegulingan or pelgongan gamelans.  Its renovation and conservation have been encouraged and supported by Westerners, but the dance is now more often accompanied by a gong kebyar gamelan.  As discussed earlier, Susan Walton has explored the rasa-aspect of gamelan music, whereas Davies does not comment on this aspect of the dance form.  The aesthetic preference in general was for the weightier tone of gong kebyar, but fans of legong have never regarded gong kebyar as better for accompanying legong.

Apinan Poshyananda highlights the Javanese shadow puppet play (Wayang Kulit) and its thematic origin in the Indian epic Mahabharata, the most popular in the Southeast Asian literary heritage, adapted often in the native performing arts of music, dance, and drama.  The pleasure derived from this performance is not merely entertainment but an aesthetic delight that harmonizes the taste of the religious Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims sects, thereby transforming the Hindu themes to a secular form of art.  Poshyananda provides valuable information about an important art form of the Southeast Asian aesthetic heritage.  He offers a historical backdrop in the rise of court culture in Yogyakarta and the origin of the puppet dance during the classical period.  Its Brahmanic aesthetic taste did not succumb to modernization and globalization to the same degree as in Jakarta or Bali.

Using the Western idiom of semiotics, John Clark studies the development of modernity in late twentieth-century Thai anti-icons and images.  He traces the transformation of court taste and sensibility from the introduction of modern European art by the art school of Corado Ferari, an Italian who settled in Thailand.  This movement from the pre-modern to the modern, and even to the postmodern from 1973 to today, has contributed towards reshaping religious and secular iconography.  The Brahmanic, Buddhist and animist worldviews and ideologies have been revived by Western technology and topography.  “The approach of this essay,” Clark writes, “is to consider that there was some kind of epistemological break in the status of icons among the aristocracy in the 1850s, and that this may have spread out to the rest of the country over time.”

Flaudette Dautuin presents a brief but insightful account of a recent genre of mural painting developed by Phaptawan Suwannakudt, a Thai artist married to John Clark.  Suwannakudt is guided by the Buddhist idea that the body is not a physical entity, mind is the body, and the physical is a vessel.  Influenced, further, by the Buddhist idea that form in painting is a “vessel, in which the mind of the painter dwells,” she generates an anti-realistic/anti-representational theory of aesthetic form.  The form of water in her mural paintings does not look like the water one sees in a river; one should “empty the visual from eyes of flesh and see again.”  The geometrical pattern of the murals might be interpreted, in the language of Deleuze and Guattari, as the “nomadic line”.

Patrick Flores writes on paintings of the Spanish Philippines that represented its social conditions allegorically.  Spain ruled this island for four centuries (1521-1898) and Britain for four decades (1899-1946).  The Filipinos are now economically well off, with steady growth since World War II, and presently earning 13 billion dollars annually through their labor abroad.  But the Spanish Philippines was altogether a different land.  The suppression and humiliation of its people led to deprivation and a “sense of the elsewhere and migrancy.”  These have been configured in the paintings of nineteenth century artists like Juan Luna.  His allegorical devices enabled him to represent mobility to evoke a multitude of meanings beyond the anecdotes they depict and the morals they suggest.  The allegorical style has been “at once intimate and alien, distancing and complicit” in the history of Philippine art, with Christianity as its religious base.  Flores surveys the themes of passion, vagrancy, and mass formation.  Unlike other islands in Southeast Asia, the Philippines appear to have been exposed to modernity much earlier through its adoption of Christian ideologies, without any reference to its earlier phases of Brahmanism, Buddhism and Islam.

Ananta Sukla

Ananta Sukla was formerly Professor and Head of the Department of English at Sambalpur University, Visiting Professor at the Institute of Aesthetics at Uppsala University, and Founding Editor of the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics.  He has published books and articles on philosophy of art, religion and language, and also literary theory.  His latest publication is a monograph on the medieval Sanskrit theorist Vishvanatha Kaviraja (Delhi:  National Academy of Letters, Delhi, 2011).

Published on November 17, 2011.

End Notes

[1] Reginald May, The Culture of South East Asia  (Delhi: National Book Trust, 1962), p. 8. 

[2] Burma (Brahmadesa/ the land of the “Burmans” representing the honorific epithet of the Indian ruling and warrior caste called ksatriya), Malaya (Mallava) – may be from Malla (a wrestler) or the land from which the wind of spring called Malaya blows, Cambodia (Kambuja desa/ the land born of a conch shell called Kambu), Java (Yavadvipa, the land that grows barley or yava).  Java might be derived also from Javaka, an epithet of the sovereignty of Sri Vijay of Sailendra Dynasty that ruled over the Malaya peninsula including Java and Sumatra forming them into an integral kingdom during 8th-9th centuries (Reginald May, The Culture of South East Asia  (Delhi: National Book Trust, 1962), p. 80-81).  So also Sumatra-Borneo (Suvarna, the well-measured land of gold), Siam (Syama, the green land), Bali (the land of sacrifice or the land of the demon named Bali), Campa -- Campapura, the city of Campa (the name of an Indian flower with sweet fragrance, the name referring also to the capital of Anga, one of the sixteen city-states that existed during the second urbanization in the Central Gangetic plain) so on, and so forth (The Cambridge History of South East Asia, Vol. 1, Pt. 1, Vol. II, 109, 137 ff.; Reginald May, The Culture of South East Asia  (Delhi: National Book Trust, 1962), 119).

[3] Reginald May, The Culture of South East Asia, p. 85.

[4] Op cit., p. 81.

[5] Op cit., p. 109.

[6] Op cit., p. 28.

[7] Op cit., p. 3.

[8] The Cambridge History of South East Asia, Vol. 1, Part 1, p. 13.  

[9] Wilhelm von Humboldt, On Language, trans. Peter Heath, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 3.

[10] Op cit., p. 11.

[11] Op cit., p. 16.

[12]   See Gray, R.D. and Atkinson, Q. “ Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origins,” Nature, 426 (2003), 435-43.

[13] The Cambridge History of South East Asia, Vol. 1, Part 1, p. 178; Vol. 2.

[14] Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 65:1 (2007).

[15] Ibid., p. 291.

[16]  See Ananta Sukla, Visvanatha Kaviraja (Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2011); also Vinjamuri K. Chari, Sanskrit Criticism  (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990).

[17]  A note for Susan Feagin, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 65:1 (2007).  See also Sukla, pp. 415 ff. 

[18]Reginald May, The Culture of South East Asia  (Delhi: National Book Trust, 1962), p. 8.

[19] Ken-Ichi Sasaki, ed., Asian Aesthetics (Singapore: Nun Press, 2010), p. 243

[20] Op. cit., p. 250.

[21] Op. cit., p. 248.

[22] Op. cit., p. 257.

[23] Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 65:1 (2007), 21-30.


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De, Sushil Kumar.  History of Sanskrit Poetics (Kolkata: Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, 1960).

Humboldt, Wilhelm von.  On Language, trans. Peter Heath, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 65:1 (2007).

May, Reginald.  The Culture of South East Asia (Delhi: National Book Trust, 1962).

Othman, Mohd Sukki.  “Contributions of Translations Activities in Malay, Chinese and Indian Civilizations,” Studies in Literature and Language, Vol. II, No.2 (2011).

Sasaki, Ken-Ichi (ed.).  Asian Aesthetics (Singapore: Nun Press, 2010).

Sukla, Ananta Ch. Visvanatha Kaviraja (Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2011). “Transculturality and Classical Indian Aesthetics: Scope and Limits” in Marchiano Grazia and Rafaele Milani (eds.), Frontiers of Transculturality in Contemporary Aesthetics (Turin: Trauben, 2001).

The Cambridge History of South East Asia, (1992), ed. Nicholas Tarling, Vol. 1, Pt. 1; Vol. II.

Teeuw, A. and S.O. Robson, (ed. and trans.).  Bhomantaka (The Death of Bhoma) (Leiden: KITLV Press, 2005).

Weissbach, Muriel Mirak.  “Wilhelm von Humboldt’s Study of the Kawi Language: The Proof of Existence of the Malayan-Polynesian Language Culture”, Fidelo, Vol. VIII, No. 1, (Spring, 1999).