All posts tagged: architecture

Destruction and Rebirth of Gyeongbokgung

Palaces… always built on a monumental scale, at auspicious sites, and embellished with rich ornamentation. Unlike great temples, churches or mosques which were commissioned to mark great rulers’ authority over their subjects (unsurprisingly, religion has been used to rule people for thousands of years), palaces […]

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A Pilgrimage to Purity

Remember the dream I took you into not long ago? Remember that bright vermilion color amid the lush green foliage? Remember Inari and the foxes? That was just the beginning of a journey to a magical realm I’m about to show you. No, I’m not […]

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Remembering the Fallen

What is a hero? Perhaps it is someone who, because of personal reasons and sentiments, is generally revered and exalted, someone whose name is mentioned with adoration and endearment. Our mother, father, brothers, sisters, lover, spouse, uncles, aunts, and teachers are among those some of […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Mangkunegaran

What happens when a claimant of a region is excluded from a treaty that officially divides it into smaller parts? As history suggests, this person will keep fighting for what they believe is rightfully theirs. The success of that usually depends on how much power […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Yogyakarta

On August 15, 1945, people across Japan, at that time an empire encompassing large swathes of Asia, heard something they considered unthinkable. The once formidable power officially surrendered to the Allies in an announcement made by Emperor Hirohito himself. Very early the next day in […]

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Singhasari: Rise and Fall

In the second half of the 13th century, a vast empire ruled by nomadic people from the steppes of what is now Mongolia stretched from the western shores of the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Victory after victory […]

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Enduring Icons of Sydney

Rivalries among kingdoms, empires and modern-day republics have profoundly shaped humanity in many ways. In the process of outdoing each other – through the economy, military, or culture – monumental edifices were often erected to symbolize a country’s prominence on the world stage. Not only […]

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Kyoto’s Pavilions of Beauty

At midday in Kyoto James and I were enjoying a quirky Japanese TV show – a miscellany of over-excited hosts, cartoonish animation, and video game-ish sound – sitting cross-legged on the comfortable tatami mat inside our hotel room. At the same time on our laptops […]

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Kyoto: A Prologue

In the final weeks toward the first ever use of an atomic bomb in warfare, a list of Japanese cities was compiled by the US military and scientists as potential targets to bring down the Asian superpower. Each city was carefully selected based on the […]

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