Indocina Persilangan Kebudayaan (2002) – Bernard Philippe Groslier

The history of Indochina cannot be separated from the history of Southeast Asia. In the other words, they have highly relationship in shaping the culture of Southeast Asia. It is said that the name of Indochina was derived as a combination of the names of “China” and “India”, referring to the location of the territory between China and India. The Indochina peninsula refers to a region in Southeast Asia lying roughly southwest of China, and east of India. This book explains the history of Indochina’s culture periodically from its geography, the Kingdom and territory, architecture and arts.

The journey started from the Kingdom of Funan located around the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam and in southern Indochina. Funan was the earliest of the Indianized states and reached its zenith in the fifth century. But in the beginning of sixth century, civil war and dynasty strife undermine Funan’s stability until its collapse. Another Kingdom was born such as Kingdom of Chenla (as the beginning of Khmer history), Kingdom of Champa, and Sriwijaya Empire. Meanwhile, Tonkin (northern part of Indochina) was occupied by China in thousand years. In that long period the people of Tonkin absorbed the Chinese culture in daily life.

It is said that after the fall of Funan, Jayavarman II from Funan had resided in Java to learn Buddhism, philosophy and culture during the reign of Syailendra. Jayavarman then returned to Indochina and developed Khmer Empire as the founder of Angkor. Briefly, the architecture and arts of Sriwijaya influenced the civilization of Khmer even though it has a different shape and details. The Khmer Empire then grew and became one of the most powerful Empires in Southeast Asia. At the same time, the territory of Champa dramatically decline under pressure from the Vietnamese from the north and Khmer from another side. The early dynasty of Vietnam, Le and Ly Dynasty, expanded their territory and eliminated the Champa from the earth.

This book briefly explains the history of Indochina and encloses the names of the Kings of Indochina in detail. But from my perspective, the visual data should not be separated from its content, because it will break the concentration of the readers to understand the whole book. Overall, it is great books to understand the history of Southeast. I highly recommended this book for your collection.

Groslier, Bernard Philippe. 2002. Indocina: Persilangan Kebudayaan. Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia.