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Malay Peninsula, Post-Classical Era

external image Angkor_wat_temple.jpg
Angkor Wat, an architectural marvel
external image 250px-SoutheastAsia1200Map.JPG
Map of the Khmer and Srivijava (Srivijaya) Kingdoms.

Friends

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Gupta Dynasty
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Societies

Several Societies are located along the Malay Peninsula:
  • Funan: dominates the lower reaches of the Mekong valley with capital city located at the port of Oc Eo. Merchants frequently drop by with trade goods as Funan dominates the Isthmus of Kra.
  • Srivijava: After Funan fell, we built a powerful navy and controlled commerce throughout Southeast Asian waters. We created an all-sea trade route from China to India, the first of its kind. We have two spellings of our names, Srivijava and Srivijaya. We prefer Srivijava.
  • Majapahit: We dominate affairs in Southeast Asia, especially after the fall of Srivijava. We like Srivijava, control maritime trade.
  • Angkor: Our society is greatly influenced by Indian culture. This is why we think of ourselves as the most magnificent culture on the Malay peninsula. We call ourselves Khmers.

Culture

Funan: Our culture is a mixture of native beliefs and Indian idea. We believe the cobra to be sacred. Our kingdom is heavily influenced by Indian culture, and we employ Indians for state administration purposes. We have to pay taxes which are paid in silver, gold, pearls, and perfumed wood. We also practice slavery and we use a system of trial by ordeal, which includes such methods as carrying a red-hot iron chain and retrieving gold rings and eggs from boiling water.

Srivijava: Our empire is a coastal trading center and a thalassocracy . Under the leadership of the man, Jayanasa, the kingdom of Malayu became the first kingdom to be integrated into the Srivijayan Empire. Malayu, also known as Jambi, was rich in gold and was held in high prestige. Our cham ports in eastern Indochina has started to attract traders, making we as Srivijayans jealous as we try to regain control of that land. After controlling Malayu, we are continuing to dominate areas around modern day Cambodia. However, there is rumor that King Jayavarman II might defeat us. We are afraid. We are in good relation with the embassies from China. We have helped spread the Malay culture throughout Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, and western Borneo. We hate the Javanese kingdoms. Please do not support them.

Majapahit: Our capital is grand and is known for its great annual festivities. Our architects are very advanced as the make use of a vine sap and palm sugar mortar and our temples are known for having a strong geometric quality.

Angkor (Khmer Empire): Our kingdom has intensive cultural, political, and trade relations with Java, and Srivijava. Westerners love our capital city of Angkor. Angkor is an example of our immense power and wealth. The man, Jayavarman II influenced by the refined art and culture of Javan Sailendra, has allowed our kingdom to be united internally. He is a staunch Saivite who does not like Ankgor Wat as it is dedicated to the god Vishnu. Soon enough, Jayvarman VII became a military leader and rose to power. After the Cham had conquered our city of Angkor, he gathered an army and regained the capital, Yasodharapura. Zhou Daguan also has arrived at Angkor, but he remains at the court of king Srindravarman until July 1297. Nonetheless, things aren't looking too well for our kingdom.

Religion

Funan: Sanskrit is the language of the court, however, many Funanese advocate the cultural aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Srivijava: Our kingdom is considered a stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism, as we attract pilgrims and scholars from all parts of Asia. Including the Chinese monk Yijing, who has made several lengthy visits to Sumatra.

Majapahit: We have a mixed bag of cultures as Buddhism, Shaivism and Vaishnavism are all practiced and our king is regarded as the incarnation of all three cultures. Many Muslim courtiers are also situated in our kingdom.

Angkor (Khmer Empire): Our official religions include Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism. However, many Buddhists seem to be converting to a new form of Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism after it has succeeded in Sri Lanka.

Blog

Blog Entry #1: The Golden Age
It's the Golden Age of Srivijava right now and there is brisk trade between the overseas world and the Fujian kingdom of Min and the rich Guangdong kingdom of Nan Han. We are benefiting from this, preparatory to the prosperity it was to enjoy under the early Song. Muslim writer Ibn rustah is also very impressed with the wealth of Srivijaya's ruler that he declared one would not hear of a king who was richer, stronger or with more revenue.
Blog Entry #2: Angkor Wat
Today, I visited the Angkor Wat temple. I learned that the Angkor Wat combines two main plans of our Khmer architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temples. The temple is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods. The temple is built for our very own King Suryavarman II as his state temple and capital city. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu but there is rumor that once we are taken over, it will become a Theravada Buddhist building. It is built of sandstone, a technique our artisans have come to acquire. My father told me about the ogival, redented towers shaped like lotus buds; half-galleries built to broaden passageways; axial galleries connecting enclosures; and the cruciform terraces which appear along the main axis of the temple. The temple is truly a work of art and I hope that someday the generations which come after me will be able to enjoy and embrace it the same way I do.
Blog Entry #3: Decline of Khmer Empire
There is commotion in Angkor right now. The kings have decided to adopt the religion of Theravada Buddhism, infuriating the locals who worship Lord Vishnu and observe many Hindu traditions. Many are also leaving the city because of the lack of water in our temple barays or lakes. Baray's are not only used to store water but, also to irrigate the rice fields, a crucial part of our economy. Sediment and silt are not only filling up the barays but, also the canals which are used for travel, trade and irrigation. I'm begging my parents to move to India with my uncle and abandon this city while we can...

The Wall


=References=Bentley, Jerry, and Herbert Ziegler. Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2006. pgs. 424-426
Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula. Paul Michel Munoz. pgs. 117-143
SE Asia for Visitors: Funan. About.com. <http://goasia.about.com/library/weekly/blfunan.htm>.
Johns, A.H. (1964). "The Role of Structural Organization and Myth in Javanese Historiography". The Journal of Asian Studies 24 (1): 91–99.
Vickery, Michael: “The Reign of Sūryavarman I and Royal Factionalism at Angkor”, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 16 (1985), S. 226-244.
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