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Traders and Poets at the Mrauk U Court: Commerce and Cultural Links in Seventeenth-Century Arakan

 Category: Culture, History  Published: 31 May 2011  Tags: ArakanArakan KingdomCommerce |  Download


TRADERS AND POETS AT THE MRAUK U COURT – A study of Commerce and Cultural links in Seventeenth-Century Arakan was written by Thibaut D’hubert And Jacques P. Leider. MARKING THE cultural frontier between South and South-East Asia, Arakan raised a bit of curiosity during the colonial period, but until fairly recently its early modern history did not attract much interest among post-colonial scholars. Looking at the kingdom’s great political and cultural epoch stretching from the 1530s up to the 1680s from a South Asian perspective, several early scholars based themselves essentially on Persian and Bengali sources and looked at Arakan as a marginal, but troublesome chiefdom mainly living off piracy along the coasts of the Bay of Bengal.

Disregarding the fact that the Arakanese kings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were staunch Buddhists, scholarly discussions were limited to the potential degree of the impact of Islam and the court’s Islamization. The Islamic influence coming from India was consciously (or unconsciously) understood as having a positive civilizing impact on the rude and tribal Arakanese.