The continent of Asia stretches from Pakistan in the west to Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia in the east and with its 3.5 billion people houses half of the world’s population. A can be divided into regions, depending on political or cultural cohesion – here it is the cultural cohesion that conditions the division: 1) Central Asia, which consists of Siberia east of the Urals, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, is without significant theatrical interest, 2) South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet and Sri Lanka), which is described as the cradle of culture, where the major religions of Buddhism and Hinduism originated, 3) East Asia (China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan), whose philosophical thinking is influenced by Confucianism and 4) Southeast Asia (Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia), which have mixed cultural influences from both South Asia and East Asia.
- Countryaah is a website offering country profiles and lists of of countries in the continent of Asia.
Intense cultural exchanges characterize the whole area, where traders and artists both at sea and over land have brought philosophical thoughts and cultural expressions with them, so for example Indian dance has traces all the way to Indonesia via Thailand and Malaysia, Chinese masked dances are spread to Korea and Japan and Vietnamese music is characterized by Japanese, Taiwanese and Filipino music.
It was not unusual for court troops to be brought home as booty, which gained crucial importance for the development of performing arts in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. In recent centuries, colonial powers have brought with them Western forms of theater, which with varying degrees of success have introduced word theater into the otherwise musical, physical, and epic-based Asian theater. The Asian theater forms appear as a symbiosis of several different art forms, song, dance, mime, mask art and martial arts, where the external form of expression can be puppet theater, musical theater, dance performances, shadow playsmv. Word theater in the Western sense does not exist in the original theatrical forms, only in the form of narrative art. The majority of Asian theater forms are built on dance, primarily in South and Southeast Asia, while others are based on singing, primarily in East Asia. Mask and puppet drama can be found throughout the area.
Performance practice and audience reception differ significantly from Western theater. The playing style is strongly stylized; originating in shamanic rituals and primordial drama, the performer is a medium that, based on aesthetic-symbolic values, conveys folk myths and narratives in a strongly codified language, whereby the performance gets the primary focus at the expense of the text, which is all familiar. In the often night-long performances, the audience can therefore go to and from the performances and select the passages that are particularly important. The performer is trained from an early age in a master learning system and in many forms such as kathakali, Peking opera, kabuki andnō it is men who perform the female roles, where in other forms, such as in certain Balinese, it is women who perform all roles.
The Indus Valley, which stretches along the Indian border towards Pakistan, is considered with the Harappa culture 2500-1500 BC. to be the starting point of Asian culture. The area was inhabited from 3000 BC, but became approximately 1000 BC invaded by Aryans, Indo-Europeans, who came from Afghanistan and brought the Sanskrit language with them. Here, among other things, a system of rituals and religious activities that later manifested as Hinduism. The myths and legends that were associated with Hinduism, in the two epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, became a central part of the Sanskrit dramaand spread since then as a textual basis to the rest of the continent. approximately 500 BC Buddhism arose, which thrived side by side with Hinduism, and which from northern India spread over A in two main directions: hinayana (the small chariot Buddhism) along with Hinduism in Southeast Asia and mahayana (Buddhism of the great chariot) in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. The Indians were an active merchant, who diligently sailed Southeast Asia, approximately 100 AD the first accounts of Hindu kings are found in Cambodia. approximately 900 AD large parts of Southeast Asia up to North Vietnam were Hinduized. They were well received as they brought with them sophisticated philosophies, written language and cultural habits, thus gaining decisive influence on the dance, which to this day carries unmistakable features of Indian culture. At the same time, Hinayana Buddhism flourished, where especially the jataka tales, parables of the Buddha, became part of the performative culture.
Approximately 1000 AD the Muslims invaded India, and with the image ban of Islam, the performing arts met in difficult times, whereas the music drew much inspiration from the Arab culture. Buddhism disappeared from India, but in the rural regions Hinduism and Sanskrit grew strong and supported the dance, whose oldest forms are kutiyattam and bharata natyam. The Muslims continued their conquests in Southeast Asia, displacing Hinduism and Buddhism; approximately 1400 the Malacca Peninsula was totally Islamized and approximately 1600 also Indonesia, New Guinea and the southern Philippines, which in turn became important for the performing arts. The conversion, however, was performed there by Indian Muslims, who were less dogmatic in their religious conduct and to some extent tolerated the dramatic art. In the Indonesian Theater,wayang, they replaced the living theater, wayang kulit, with puppet theater, wayang golek, and thus did not lose the performative art, which to date is very strong. In Bali, however, they managed to stand up to Islam, to date the island is Hindu and the dance tradition is intact.
802 AD founded the Javanese Hindu Prince, Jayavarman II, the Khmer Empire in Cambodia with Angkor Vat as its capital; it existed for 600 years. He brought with him thousands of dancers who, on the basis of Indian-inspired dance, laid the foundation for Cambodian dance. In 1353, the Thais overpowered the Khmers and brought home the entire court force as booty. From here the classical Thai dance is dated. In 1767, the Burmese, who had been at war with the Thais for centuries, took home the entire Thai court dance troupe, which was set to teach the Burmese dancers. Thus, both the Hindu tales and the Javanese Prince Panji stories became a basic component of the classical dance traditions of Southeast Asia. When Angkor Vat was annihilated in 1431, the kingdom also lost its dance tradition; it was reintroduced by Thai dancers in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Buddhism spread northward through Nepal and Tibet, where Buddhist dance dramas, respectively. mani-rimdu and ache lhamostill danced, and on to China, where it became known as early as the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and gained a foothold in the 6th century as a dominant philosophy alongside Confucianism (from 500 BC) and Daoism (from 100 AD). Indian dance and Sanskrit drama followed, but have only indirectly, through Buddhism, had an impact on Chinese theater. The Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) was an open, cosmopolitan regime that received artists and trade travelers from both the north and the south. Musicians, puppet masters and performers traveled from the Middle East and South Asia along the Silk Road right into the heart of China, while Koreans and Japanese came from the north to be inspired. Several dance forms such as Korean kiak, which came to Japan as a gigaku, were originally Indian temple dances that accompanied Buddhism through East Asia just as Japanese bugaku originated in China during the Tang Dynasty. Centuries later, in 1285, Kublai Khan took over northern Vietnam, bringing with him Chinese actors and musicians who laid the foundations of the Vietnamese court theater, the hat boi.
At the turn of the 20th century, all of Southeast Asia, with the exception of Thailand, was colonized. Missionary Christians and influences from Western culture throughout A made serious attacks on traditional art, which is still fighting a daily battle for survival and not to end up as a museum theater. Naturalism and Western word theater continue to have narrow terms; the young artists work to connect tradition and renewal in new forms of behavior, where not least interculturalism, as a millennium-old tradition in A, is central.