By Keith Pratt
There are starkly varied Koreas which are both vital actors on today’s stressful geopolitical level: South Korea, that is thriving as a democracy racing into the long run as a high-tech monetary powerhouse, and North Korea, a repressive dictatorship governed through the iron tendencies of the valuable chief. The dividing thirty eighth Parallel is a chilly battle relic that mask the deep and binding cultural ties among them, and Keith Pratt tackles right here in Everlasting Flower the complexly intertwined background of the 2 nations.
Everlasting Flower traverses the traditional actual and cultural panorama of the Koreas, spanning from the traditional states of outdated Choson and Wiman Choson to the current day. Pratt finds the wealthy origins of such cultural foundations as non secular practices and foods and drinks, and he connects them to key ancient advancements of either countries. He additionally probes arguable old occasions resembling the abuses—torture, punishment, and the “comfort women”—of the japanese profession. Concise and richly illustrated pictorial essays increase Pratt’s compelling narrative, chronicling quite a few monuments of Korea’s prior, together with the world’s oldest observatory and the well-known turtle boats.
An engrossing and provocative background of the 2 Koreas, Everlasting Flower is an important research of 2 international locations which are speedily rising from the shadows in their looming neighbors—China and Japan—and of one another in addition. because the Korean peninsula turns into an more and more very important geopolitical hotspot, Everlasting Flower deals a large viewpoint in this painfully divided state. (20060801)
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Extra resources for Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea
Nowadays their rubbish dumps bear the rather grand name of shell mounds and are valuable sources of information for archaeologists. Villagers lived in semi-subterranean dwellings with a central hearth. At Osanni and other north-eastern locations, and then down the west coast as well, they learned to make thin, flat-bottomed pottery vessels, decorating them at first with incised patterns and with lines pinched into relief. From about , at sites between the Ch’o˘ngch’o˘n and Han rivers, they began to produce conical containers and to put geometric patterns on their wares with a toothed scraper (chu˘lmun, ‘comb pattern’).
The influence of Han culture, so widely admired and imitated during the commanderies period, did not disappear promptly with the colonists in –. Some Chinese residents, anyway, lived on in Koguryo˘, and the adoption of Confucianism and Buddhism presented the Three Kingdoms with intellectual and cultural imperatives for keeping direct lines of contact with China open. But both philosophies also provided a stimulus to independent cultural progress. The Korean stone stupa, for example, a structure placed within the grounds of a temple to hold holy relics (sarira), texts or offerings, evolved from the substantially larger Chinese pagoda of wood or brick, which was a building rather than a monument.
Craftsmen who emigrated in to build Asukadera, Japan’s oldest temple, also introduced the art of tile-making. Shortly after wards the monk Kwallu˘k earned a reputation in Nara as a teacher of the calendar and geomancy (p’ungsu). An early seventh-century Buddhist triad at Ho¯ryu¯-ji is inscribed with a name similar to that of the craftsman who made two of the silver bracelets found in King Muryo˘ng’s tomb, though whether it was made in Paekche or Japan is impossible to tell.