Tourism makes an important contribution to modern society and culture, with museums and craft-production, in particular, providing key elements. The components that make up contemporary tourism, including the role played by museums in Mongolia, the representations of Mongolia in Europe, and traditional craft-production, could play a significant role in the development of this sector of the Mongolian economy. It is clear that the performing arts are now established and recognised.
Arts and Literature
A series of stories about life on and around the River Ganges, including poetic and mystical musings, as recounted by a female personification. Here she recounts tales of the many visitors who, over time, came to her shores, as well as those who have sailed on her waters to embark on adventures and discover new bounties. Visitors mentioned, include the first Aryans, as well as the film director, Frederico Fellini.
Objects, including those found in the Fukinoki tomb in Nara, demonstrate the cultural and artistic influences that arrived in Japan via the Silk Road. The designs of dragons and phoenixes, which can be seen on gilt belt plaques, bear a striking resemblance to similar ones that have Scythian origins. Meanwhile a gilt bronze crown that was found there, is very similar to a crown discovered in North Afghanistan.
Until recently, Basra was not considered as a producer of some of the finest Chinese-inspired porcelain. However recent studies suggest that Basra was in fact a centre of some of the finest luxury wares of the time. Being the port where, in the 9th century, imported Tang stoneware and porcelain were first off-loaded from ships, meant that local potters were exposed to new inspiration, which led to experimentation in their own production techniques.
The precise date when exactly Muslims reached the Korean peninsula has been difficult to determine. References to “Ta-shi” (Arab Muslims) can be found in Oriental records that date from the 11th century AD, but there is also evidence that Muslims were in contact with the Korean peninsula from as early as the 7th century. In fact by the 8th century, Muslim navigation manuals reveal that they were plying the eastern seas regularly, establishing colonies along their routes.
Remote and mysterious 7th–8th century China provided a natural source of stories that could neither be verified nor disputed. As a consequence, knowledge of China of early Arab/Islamic traders on the Silk Route was based on rather basic, mythical, information. These stories were easily categorized into the three literary genres of the time, The Rihla (travelogues); The ‘Aja’ib (miracles); and Al-Faraj ba'da a-Shidda wa-l-diq, which drew both a cultured readership and an avid oral audience.
The Chinese began to forge links with and travel to many countries in Southeast Asia from early times. This can be seen from archaeological finds across the region and is recorded in the literature of the time. Inscriptions in the form of epigraphic materials also provide insights into the travels of the Chinese during the period, including likely origins and departure and arrival sites.
The economic importance of Melaka in the cross-cultural trade routes of the world and its political supremacy in Southeast Asia has been well documented. Even after its conquest by the Portuguese in 1511, the influence of the exiled Malay Sultanate continued, albeit from a different location – Jahor Lama, where it would seem the influence of the sultanate later floundered. However, in the 1980s, an ancient manuscript that dates from 1891 was discovered, the Trengganu Tuhfat al-Nafis (The Precious Gift).
Serving as the gateway between East and West, the Gulf of Thailand was a busy trade route for commercial vessels. Since the area was rich in resources, spices and exotic goods, traders also often stopped to purchase and sell merchandise, as well as stock up on food and water supplies. While the gulf was safer than many seas, inevitably some ships sank with their cargoes.
The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul has one of the most valuable collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain in the world. The palace was built in the 1460s and was the residence for the imperial family until the mid-19th century. Now a museum, its famous collection of porcelain dates back to the 13th century and includes over 1,000 pieces of blue and white celadon and over 3,000 pieces of Yuan, Ming and Vietnamese ware, including some of the finest blue and white examples from the Ming Dynasty.