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

By D G E Hall (auth.)

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F) If merchants had played a part in the transmission of culture, the early centres of Hindu civilization would be found at the coastal emporia, whereas they are found at royal residencies in the interior, and, in the case of Java, in 'the almost inaccessible plains' of Kedu and Prambanan. (g) Commercial contacts are inadequate for the transmission of the higher civilization of one people to another. For example, the Chinese in Indonesia have had no influence upon the local culture, and this must also h~ve been true of the lndians.

Credes, however, points out that the employment of a pre-Nagari script for a short time at the end of the 1 Selected Studies in Indonesian Archaeology, p. ~o. CH. 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.

Farther north there was a route from Tavoy over the Three Pagodas Pass and thence by the Kanburi river to the valley of the Menam. Two ancient sites, P'ong Tuk and P'ra Pathom, lie on this route. Further still to the north lay a route to the Menam region by Moulmein and the Raheng pass. Later on these last two routes were used by the Burmese in their invasions of Siam, notably in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. More recently they were used by the Japanese to invade Burma during the Second World War.

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