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By D G E Hall (auth.)

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I South-East Asia before the Christian era. But so imaginative an interpretation looks like a flight of nationalistic fancy rather than sober historical thinking; for if one thing is certain it is that Indian culture was not brought to South-East Asia by waves of immigrants. 1 Indigenous South-East Asian writings dealing with this early period can provide little help: those extant are recent recensions, none of which is more than two hundred years old. They tell us what dynasties of a much later period wanted people to believe about ancient times, and in particular about their own splendid ancestry.

And in the Chinese Ch'ien Han Shu there is authentic evidence of the coastal barter through which it came to the lands to the south. 2 This culture cannot be strictly characterized as bronze since iron was also worked at the same time. The name Dong-Son has been applied to it from the village in Tongking where the most striking evidence of it has been found. Bronze work of a very high order was produced, a notable feature of which were the kettle-drums of various types and sizes used for ritual purposes throughout the whole area of South-East Asia.

J. Krom, was to the effect that Indian penetration was peaceful, and that it began with traders who settled and married native women, thereby introducing Indian culture. In this way, he suggested, the Indonesians voluntarily accepted the higher Hindu civilization. Bosch's criticisms of these hypotheses may be tabulated as follows: (a) A conquering prince would have mentioned his success in an inscription, or, if not, one of his descendants would have done so. (b) There is no sign of Dravidian mixture in the population of Java or Bali.

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