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Spotlighting New Releases on Myanmar


Buddhist Art of Myanmar
Sylvia Fraser-Lu and Donald M. Stadtner (Editors)

The practice of Buddhism in Myanmar (Burma) has resulted in the production of dazzling objects since the 5th century. This landmark publication presents the first overview of these magnificent works of art from major museums in Myanmar and collections in the United States, including sculptures, paintings, textiles, and religious implements created for temples and monasteries, or for personal devotion. Many of these pieces have never before been seen outside of Myanmar. Accompanied by brilliant color photography, essays by Sylvia Fraser-Lu, Donald M. Stadtner, and scholars from around the world synthesize the history of Myanmar from the ancient through colonial periods and discuss the critical links between religion, geography, governance, historiography, and artistic production. The authors examine the multiplicity of styles and techniques throughout the country, the ways Buddhist narratives have been conveyed through works of art, and the context in which the diverse objects were used. Certain to be the essential resource on the subject, Buddhist Art of Myanmar illuminates two millennia of rarely seen masterpieces.

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Prisms on the Golden Pagoda: Perspectives on National Reconciliation in Myanmar
Kyaw Yin Hlaing (Editor)

Just as the prismatic effects of glass mosaics or mirrors produce the spectrums of colour that give Myanmar’s pagodas their glittering iridescence, Prisms on the Golden Pagoda offers a spectrum of views on the country’s national reconciliation process. Because many of Myanmar’s outlying ethnic groups straddle the country’s borders with neighbouring countries in South and Southeast Asia and with China, the outcome of this process is crucial not only for the country’s current domestic liberalization but also for regional geopolitics. The editor of this volume, Kyaw Yin Hlaing is a US-trained academic who currently serves as an advisor to Myanmar’s President. He has assembled contributions from veteran activists such as the Shan leader U Shwe Ohn, the Chin politician Lian H. Sakhong, Widura Thakin Chit Maung, once leader of Burma’s “Red Socialists,” and Thamarr Taman, formerly a senior civil servant. Commentary by the editor, and by Robert H. Taylor and British diplomat-turned activist Derek Tonkin, explains the context and significance of these materials. By showing how the national reconciliation effort has been viewed inside the country, the contributors provide an important insider’s perspective on Myanmar’s difficult legacies of violence and separatism.

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Champions of Buddhism: Weikza Cults in Contemporary Burma
Benedicte Brac de la Perriere, Guillaume Rozenberg & Alicia Turner (Editors)

Hidden at the margins of Burmese Buddhism and culture, the cults of the weikza shape Burmese culture by bringing together practices of supernatural power and a mission to protect Buddhism. This exciting new research on an often hidden aspect of Burmese religion places weikza in relation to the Vipassana insight meditation movement and conventional Buddhist practices, as well as the contemporary rise of Buddhist fundamentalism. Featuring research based on fieldwork only possible in recent years, paired with reflective essays by senior Buddhist studies scholars, this book situates the weikza cult in relation to broader Buddhist and Southeast Asian contexts, offering interpretations and investigations as rich and diverse as the Burmese expressions of the weikza cults themselves. Champions of Buddhism opens the field to new questions, new problems, and new connections with the study of religion and Southeast Asia in general.

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Blood, Dreams and Gold: The Changing Face of Burma
Richard Cockett

One of its richest. Under successive military regimes, however, the country eventually ended up as one of the poorest countries in Asia, a byword for repression and ethnic violence. Richard Cockett spent years in the region as a correspondent for The Economist and witnessed firsthand the vicious sectarian politics of the Burmese government, and later, also, its surprising attempts at political and social reform.

Cockett’s enlightening history, from the colonial era on, explains how Burma descended into decades of civil war and authoritarian government. Taking advantage of the opening up of the country since 2011, Cockett has interviewed hundreds of former political prisoners, guerilla fighters, ministers, monks, and others to give a vivid account of life under one of the most brutal regimes in the world. In many cases, this is the first time that they have been able to tell their stories to the outside world. Cockett also explains why the regime has started to reform, and why these reforms will not go as far as many people had hoped. This is the most rounded survey to date of this volatile Asian nation.

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