eBooks on Asian Art, Culture, History & Travel

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THE ILLUSTRATED TAO TE CHING

THE ILLUSTRATED TAO TE CHING

An illustrated version of James Legge’s translation of the Tao Te Ching or ‘Canon of the Way of Virtue’, with an introduction to the ‘Old Master’ Laozi, and a short biography of Legge. 11,000 words, 88 high quality images

The Tao Te Ching or ‘Canon of the Way of Virtue’ is a classical Chinese text generally dated to the 6th century BCE. It has traditionally been attributed to Laozi, the ‘Old Master’, said to have been a scribe at the court of the Zhou Dynasty. The actual date of the composition of the Tao Te Ching remains a matter of conjecture, though the oldest text discovered so far dates back to the 4th century BCE.

The text attributed to Laozi is central to both religious and philosophical Taoism, and represents a central tenet of the ‘Three Teachings’ of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism that combine to form the main religious tradition not just of China, but also of Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Representing a philosophical standpoint rich in naturalism and closely associated with anti-authoritarianism down the millennia, it has also been a major influence on the artistic world in China and beyond, inspiring generations of calligraphers, poets, painters, musicians and classical landscape gardeners.

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LADYBOY: THAILAND’S THEATER OF ILLUSION

LADYBOY: THAILAND’S THEATER OF ILLUSION

The photographs in this coffee table e-book colourfully reveal the glamorous world of Thai transvestite cabaret. 4,000 words, 86 full colour images

In Thailand practically every town or village has several openly transsexual boys or men who dress as women and are born with feminine characteristics. They are known by a Thai term which translates as ’Women of the Second Kind’, and are also often known by the English loan word ’Ladyboy’. Perhaps no other country in the world has such a large percentage of transsexuals, nor arguably does there exist any other culture where persons of the ‘third gender’ can live and interact with society so freely and comfortably.

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PEOPLE OF PALESTINE

PEOPLE OF PALESTINE

A collection of century-old pictures of the people of Historic Palestine including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Samaritans and others. 70 hand-coloured and black and white images, together with an informative accompanying text.

In 2011 former US Republican Senator Rick Santorum stated that: ‘All the people that live in the West Bank are Israelis. They are not Palestinians. There is no Palestinian’. This was echoed within weeks by another former Republican Senator, Newt Gingrich, who claimed: ‘I think we have had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs’.

Such statements are symptomatic of both ignorance and racism and deserve to be treated with the same disdain as Holocaust denial.

Of course there are Palestinian people, just as there is a nascent Palestinian state. This seems axiomatic. But for those who continue seriously to doubt the present demographic evidence, or perhaps the written word, there remains an indisputable third source of proof - pictures of historic Palestine and its people, taken between the mid 19th century and the end of the British Mandate in 1948.

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100 BEAUTIES: SUZUKI HARUNOBU

100 BEAUTIES: SUZUKI HARUNOBU

One hundred of the most beautiful and most compelling woodblock prints of bijin or ‘beautiful women’ from Suzuki Harunobu, master printmaker of 18th century Edo - today’s Tokyo - together with essays on Harunobu’s life and times, his artistic techniques and of course his ‘beauties’

Suzuki Harunobu was a celebrated 18th century Japanese ukiyo-e artist who produced thousands of exquisite woodblock prints illustrating aspects of life and society in old Edo - today’s Tokyo.

His subjects extended from Kabuki actors and courtesans to landscapes, explicit eroticism and street scenes. Yet the subject at which he most excelled was bijin-ga or paintings of beautiful women.

This book examines Harunobu’s life and times and artistic achievements, as well as 100 full colour images of his most appealing and winsome bijin or beauties - with their lovers, at their everyday domestic chores, in the Yoshiwara brothel quarter, or just viewing nature.

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ANGKOR: EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD

ANGKOR: EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD

Angkor is the largest religious complex in the world and the greatest historic attraction in Southeast Asia. 20,000 words, 81 contemporary images, 18 historic images, 7 maps

For much of the second half of the 20th century Cambodia was racked by war and famine. Yet it was not always like this. Before its rice fields were stained with blood in the mid-1960s, Cambodia was celebrated as a land of fertile tranquility where a predominantly Buddhist people continued the myriad artistic and cultural traditions of the old Khmer Empire—the first high civilisation in Southeast Asia, exemplified by the extraordinary temple of Angkor Wat, surely the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Angkor has to be seen to be believed. It is the largest religious site in the world and, beyond doubt, the major cultural and historical attraction in all of Southeast Asia.

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47 RONIN: UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI EDITION

47 RONIN: UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI EDITION

Illustrated with the full Utagawa Kuniyoshi print edition of 1847-1848

The story of the 47 Ronin is perhaps the most popular and best known legend of traditional Japan. Set in the early 18th century, it tells a tale of honour and bloody revenge as the brotherhood of 47 masterless Samurai pursue the ruthless killing of Lord Kira, the official who brought about the downfall and suicide of their master, Lord Asano.

This edition of the story is illustrated by the full set of masterful woodblock prints created by celebrated artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi in 1838-39, images as vivid and striking today as when they were first made 175 years ago.

A new version of the tale of the 47 Ronin is currently under production by Universal Pictures starring Keanu Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada. This book sets the film in its true historical context and is accompanied by 68 outstandingly rare and beautiful images.

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47 RONIN: TSUKIOKA YOSHITOSHI EDITION

47 RONIN: TSUKIOKA YOSHITOSHI EDITION

Illustrated with the full Tsukioka Yoshitoshi woodblock print edition of 1869

The story of the 47 Ronin is perhaps the most popular and best known legend of traditional Japan. Set in the early 18th century, it tells a tale of honour and bloody revenge as the brotherhood of 47 masterless Samurai pursue the ruthless killing of Lord Kira, the official who brought about the downfall and suicide of their master, Lord Asano.

This edition of the story is illustrated by the full set of colourful woodblock prints created by master artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi in 1869, images as evocative and memorable today as when they were first made 150 years ago.

A new version of the tale of the 47 Ronin is currently under production by Universal Pictures starring Keanu Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada. This book sets the film in its true historical context and is accompanied by 64 outstandingly rare and beautiful images.

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28 FAMOUS MURDERS

28 FAMOUS MURDERS

Illustrated with the full Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Utagawa Yoshiiku woodblock print edition of 1866-1868

Between 1866 and 1868 the celebrated Japanese artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, in collaboration with his colleague Utagawa Yoshiiku, produced a series of images of graphic horror and cruelty entitled ’28 Famous Murders with Verse’.

The series of 28 ukiyo-e woodblock prints shocked, horrified and delighted the citizens of Edo - or at least those of a voyeuristic and morbid disposition.

Known as the muzan-e, ’atrocious’ or ’cruel pictures’, all 28 are reproduced here together with other examples of the genre by Yoshitoshi, as well as short essays of ’The Strange World of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi’ and ’28 Famous Murders with Verse’.

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