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  Sri Lanka - Cultural Guide.

              Sri Lanka is a continuous revelation for the traveler. Its geography, its hidden treasures, the feeling experienced when visiting it, has given rise to one of the most beautiful words of the English language: “serendipity”. It is defined as a fortunate, valuable and unexpected discovery or find that occurs accidentally, by chance or by destiny, or when one is looking for something different. The old name Ceylon came from Serendip.
This little guide is a tribute to Sri Lanka and its people and especially to those who have been patiently explaining to me aspects of their culture. This book is illustrated with more than 100 pictures and several new maps and drawings.


 

Yu Garden - Shanghai.
Yu Garden is Shanghai's main monument and one of the most beautiful gardens in China. The history of its creation and the evolution of the city over the last few centuries have made it the archetype of the Chinese garden, in which all the poetic, natural and cultural elements of the gardens are present.
The art of gardening, relatively recent in China's long history, has an intimate relationship with landscape painting, poetry and oriental architecture. Only when the thick web of symbols and implicit meanings that support a work of art can be unraveled, it can be enjoyed in all its grandeur.
This garden is visited every day by thousands of people who, enjoying its essential beauty, walk carelessly through its corridors and galleries This book is fundamental to understand the cultural and historical importance of the garden, but also to appreciate the art of oriental gardening and each of the elements that compose
A must-have book for all visitors to Shanghai.


 

Road to Nirvana - The Kunming Dharani pillar.

The main courtyard of the Kunming Municipal Museum houses one of the most original art-works from the time of the Dali Kingdom in Yunnan. It is called the Dharani Pillar of the Dizang Temple. It is a stone pillar a little over six meters high, in the shape of a pagoda, on whose surface some of the most beautiful Buddhist sculptures of China have been carved. It is a pillar full of symbolism that shows a distinctive spiritual conception of the universe, in which Buddhist devotees are expected to find a path that leads from ignorance to enlightenment, in the transit between life and death, especially the general Gao, for whom it was built.
We are convinced that the structure and elements of the pillar are much more than a magnificent work of art. When they are framed in the Buddhist beliefs of the time and in the artistic traditions of the Buddhist world, they will convey separate sets of secret communications that will appeal to sages, nobles and laymen, providing paths to enlightenment, transcendence and the salvation of the soul. When the study of this pillar is explained in the light the religion and politics of the ancient Yunnan, 800 years ago, it will reveal interesting aspects of the nature of the Kingdom of Dali, of its ruling elite and of the religion they practiced.


 

Manual of the Chinese Superstitions.

The 18 volumes of Henry Doré's "Chinese Superstitions" are possibly the most detailed study of the religion of the Chinese in its different variants. The extent of the work, and the contempt for those beliefs, normal not only in the pen of the Jesuit priest but also among the elites of China at the time, has made this work almost unknown today. The "Manual of Chinese Superstitions" that we translate here for the first time, condenses in a clear and concise style the most relevant aspects of the monumental work. This direct style, these almost summary descriptions of Chinese customs and folklore make this short booklet an indispensable companion for all those who approach the complex world of Chinese folklore and popular beliefs, and through them the symbolism present in Chinese art and literature. In order to facilitate the identification of the main deities and rituals mentioned in the text to contemporary readers, we have transcribed the Chinese names to the pinyin romanization in current use and added the Chinese characters to the names of the main deities.


  The Jinuo of Yunnan - China's last but one matriarchy

Hidden in the tropical mountains of China’s southern border lives one of the most interesting Chinese minorities: The Jino nationality. With a population of only 21,000 people they are one of the less known ethnic groups in China, who in the past were often confused with the surrounding minorities. The study of their culture started only in the last decades of the 20th century and showed the world an ethnic group characterized for the strength with which they preserved their matriarchal tendencies and their surprising adaptability to their tropical environment. The shadow of their former matriarchy, and of their goddesses, was found everywhere in the Jino life and culture, as a giant umbrella that covered their main activities, especially prominent in their myths and legends, as well as in the spiritual life that directed their everyday activities: farming and hunting, house building, village ceremonies and rituals performed by their main religious specialists.


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