When thinking of Southeast Asia you think mostly of chop souey, the
Vietnam war, jungles, and very poor people. People don't think of the culture
that developed and art that was created there.
Southeast Asia is a modern, geographical term used to define the
approximate location of territories to the south and the east of India and
China. Those countries are North and South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos,
Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Portuguese Timor,
and the Philippines. Though all of these countries have a very mixed cultural
base, it is mostly an "Indianized" area. Their religious beliefs were primarily
Buddist and Hindu faiths, which were influenced by religion and beliefs of
India. The Buddist faith most strongly affected the areas of Burma, Thailand,
Sumatra, and Central Java. While the Hindu faith was mostly found in the
Cambodian region of Southeastern Asia. The governments vary but are
mostly based on Deva Raja. The idea behind that is their ruler became the
model for a society and had the blessings of the gods in his earthly rule.
Southeast Asia's works of art range anywhere from massive
architectural complexes to tiny bronzes. Every country has their own
individual style. For instance, Thailand's work is either cast-bronze figures of
gods and goddesses, heavenly beings, or mythological animals. Their art
always expresses religious beliefs made primarily of curved lines and slick
features. The art of Indonesia also expressed religious beliefs but was much
more defined. The art of Indonesia had more carving and molding which
portrayed much more work and love of art.
One thing that all of Southeastern Asian art has in common is the
depiction of their devotion to Buddah. It is said that "If, one day, one would
want to count the number of stupas, pagodas and temples dedicated to
Buddah throughout Burma, one would find as many as there are grains of
sand in the Hoggar Desert."