A History of South-East Asia by D G E Hall (auth.)

By D G E Hall (auth.)

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2 SOUTH-EAST ASIAN PROTO-HISTORY 23 eighth and the beginning of the ninth centuries is evidence of a wave of Bengali influence. 1 The plastic arts and architecture afford little help, since their earliest examples do not appear until long after the first impact of Indian culture and show a diversity of influences. Of the architecture Parmentier ventures the considered opinion that, shorn of its images and inscriptions, it is so different from its Indian prototypes that the connection is by no means obvious.

The culture of Oc Eo itself is characterized by M. Malieret as halfindigenous, half-foreign; its foreign affinities, he says, were almost entirely with India. The earliest Chinese reference to the kingdom comes from the pen of K'ang T'ai, who together with Chu Ying was sent thither on a mission in the middle of the third century. He tells the story of the foundation of the kingdom by Kaundinya, whose name he transliterates Hun-t'ien. According to his account this ruler was a foreigner, who came from a place which may be India, the Malay Peninsula, or even the southern islands.

145· TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY PT. I conditions; South-East Asia was at the receiving end and played a passive role. In due course Indian scholars joined in the fascinating chase for information, and made important contributions to the literature of the subject. Their work shows an enthusiasm which partly reflects the excitement of the quest, but largely also the nationalistic ardour that was sweeping through the educated classes of India as the twentieth century dawned and proceeded upon its troubled way.

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