Asian Perspectives, 2015 - Volume 54, Number 2 (Fall)

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    Early Gold Ornaments of Southeast Asia: Production, Trade, and Consumption
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2015) Demandt, Michèle H. S.
    In the last decade a variety of gold ornaments have come to light through excavations and the illegal looting of Iron Age and early historical sites in Southeast Asia. Although these gold objects are personal ornaments testifying to an innovative local craft tradition that was partly inspired by foreign technologies and styles, their role in the interregional and long-distance exchange network of the early Southeast Asian communities has been rarely considered. This study of early gold ornaments brings together important gold discoveries on sites in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and southern China, and discusses similarities in production, consumption, and exchange. It further attempts to offer some new insights into sociopolitical and economic changes on a regional scale, and hopes to contribute to a longue-durée examination of trading connections across Asia. It is proposed that the first arrival of gold ornaments was closely related to the blossoming of trade activities on the terrestrial and maritime silk routes, and the political, religious, and artistic ideas that reached Southeast Asia from far-away regions such as the Greco-Buddhist and Hindu-Buddhist regions. Furthermore it is argued that gold ornaments were prestige goods and an essential part of dressing strategies through which changing elite identities were expressed.
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    Okinawa as Transported Landscape: Understanding Japanese Archaeological Remains on Tinian Using Ryūkyū Ethnohistory and Ethnography
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2015) Dixon, Boyd
    The two islands of Okinawa and Tinian in the western Pacific are often linked in the modern archaeological literature by a common ethnic heritage in the early twentieth century, with Okinawan culture serving as a template for interpreting the archaeological remains of the Japanese sugarcane plantation era in Tinian. Tens of thousands of Okinawans immigrated to Tinian and other Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to be tenant farmers or contract laborers on the plantations between the 1920s and 1944, when they could no longer leave. Structural and functional parallels do indeed exist between the architectural remains of many farmsteads of the plantation era on both islands. The extent to which these archaeological remains on Tinian reflect a “transported landscape” from Okinawa versus a Japanese colonial construct is explored, using the vehicle of Okinawan ethnohistory and ethnography.